Courtesy of WGN -TV • July 5, 2019
By Micah Materre
GARY Ind. — He is a doctor, a businessman and an advocate for America’s youth. Dr. Michael McGee does more than treat victims of gun violence, he spends his days trying to prevent it.
As chief of the ER at Gary Methodist Hospital, McGee has seen his share of gunshot wounds throughout his career.
Founder of Project Outreach and Prevention. Or POP. McGee and a colleague created the nonprofit in an effort to combat youth violence.
McGee believes gun violence in America is an epidemic and he speaks to group of teens in and around Gary. Along with gun violence statistics and news articles, his slide show includes emergency room pictures of trauma victims. He also stresses the importance of conflict resolution.
“We not only try to talk to the student’s about preventing gun violence, but we also tell them to take charge and do your part,” he said.
Born and raised in Gary, McGee said he was an honor student and athlete, but still, he managed to get into his share of trouble. Inspired by his mother who worked as a nurse for more than 30 years, he became a physician working in Atlanta. But in 2004 unforeseen circumstances brought him back to Gary to care for his ailing mother.
“I said if I’m going to do this I’m going to be the best doctor I can,” he said. “I’m going to do stuff for the community and I’m going to go out and be really involved. So at that point, I started a program called POP.”
Part of POP’s mission is to instill healthy behaviors as well as offer career opportunities.
McGee says it’s important for kids to have a mentor.
“I came from the Gary projects and a single parent family,” he said. “Now here I am the director of two ERs and also CEO of an independent group.”
Last fall he and two fellow physicians opened the doors to the first black-owned urgent care facility in the city of Chicago, Premier Urgent Care and occupational health center in Hyde Park.
“It made sense we would do something there because it’s a big population, it’s diverse and there was a need,” McGee said.
The center also allows McGee to give students in the POP program a peek into the medical world and introduce them to possible career opportunities.
To combat the cycle of gun violence McGee knows it’s bigger than one person.
“It gives me passion to do what I do and I think we’re making a difference,” he said. “And I know that when I hear kids that were in the school now come back and say, ‘Hey, I became a doctor because of you,’ I hear that.”
Dr. Michael McGee is one of Chicago’s very own.