By Will Wadsworth
Public health activist and acclaimed author Mona Hanna-Attisha spoke to a crowded Evans auditorium last night about her experiences in Flint, Michigan and how she’s worked for public health initiatives in America over the past few years.
Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician and associate professor at Michigan State. She jumped to national prominence in 2015 when she released a report showing high lead levels in Flint children after the city began drawing their water from the Flint River.
Hanna-Attisha gave an interactive presentation to students and faculty for nearly an hour that included a small slideshow and a Q&A session with questions from social media. Hanna-Attisha lectured on her experiences as one of the first officials to tackle the Flint Water Crisis when it first began in 2014, but she also spoke extensively about national efforts she now works with to promote public health and pediatric wellness across America.
The doctor spoke with Texas State student media after the event and says her book and her work fighting for Flint’s public health has inspired people across the country to target health issues in their own communities.
“One of the positive things about this crisis have been the ripple effects, and there have absolutely been ripple effects across the country in regards to issues like lead exposure, and not just in water, but all over,” said Hanna-Attisha. “It’s ubiquitous. It’s in old homes, it’s in soil, especially in our inner city older communities.”
Hanna-Attisha has taken her fight for clean drinking water and children’s services nationwide, but she still encourages people to take action on the issues that matter to them.
“There’s got to be something that keeps you up at night, and it’s easy to find,” Hanna-Attisha said. “There are injustices everywhere. You don’t have to go fight for climate change or some big issues. It can be something here in your community. What this story shares is that you have the power to make a difference. Things happen when you work together.”
Through her work, Hanna-Attisha has been recognized by Time Magazine as one of their 100 Most Influential People in the World. She is the founder and director of the Pediatric Public Health Initiative which deals in community programs and policy advocacy to help fight health crises like those in Flint.
Featured image by Will Wadsworth.