Volunteer physicians from Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills and Skin & Vein Center, with facilities in Fenton, Sterling Heights and Garden City, are teaming up with the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC) for the Freedom Ink Tattoo Removal Program.
According to a DHDC press release, Skin & Vein Center dermatologist Eric Seiger, D.O., helped begin the tattoo-removal program six years ago for ex-gang members or those recently returned from prison.
“Tattoo removal is a critical positive step in a long and challenging journey out of gang life and into positive social integration with the community at large," said Angela Reyes, DHDC’s executive director and founder. "Many ex-gang members have visible tattoos inhibiting their ability to secure employment. Our program has helped hundreds of people who, over recent years, haven’t been able to turn to anyone else. Parole agents and others from across Michigan send their clients here, where they become participants in our programs,”
The chairman of DHDC’s Board of Directors, Frank Venegas Jr., of The Ideal Group, introduced Reyes to Botsford's dermatology residency program director Annette LaCasse, D.O., who owns Commerce Institute of Skin, and her husband Paul LaCasse, D.O., MPH, an emergency medicine physician who is Botsford Health Care’s president and CEO. Together with Dr. Seiger, they began discussing how to make the program self-sustaining, as federal funding for America’s reentry population has diminished drastically.
Dr. Paul LaCasse worked to acquire a donated laser from ForTec Medical.
“With a self-sustaining program, we hope to reach more ex-gang members and those who have recently returned home from prison. Ultimately, we hope to have a greater impact in the community,” said Reyes.
To learn more about joining the Freedom Ink Tattoo Removal Program, contact James Phillips, reentry coordinator, at 313-967-4880, extension 124.