“I have the honor of seeing our Flint kids almost every day in clinic, and they’re amazing,” Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha tells Kirk Heinze on Greening of the Great Lakes. “They are smart, they are strong, they are bright, they’re resilient and they’re brave. They appear to be doing well, but time will tell. Our work in Flint is really just beginning.”
Dr. Mona, as she’s known affectionately around the world, is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the MSU College of Human Medicine and director of the Pediatric Residency Program at Hurley Children’s Hospital in Flint. She was at MSU on March 16 to give a talk titled “Flint Water Crisis: Background and Next Steps” as part of the Broad College of Business’ Business and Bagels Seminar Series.
She and her colleagues have received funding from the state – with hopefully more from the federal government on the way – to build a large-scale registry to identify and track the children and to evaluate how they’re doing.
“What we hope to show from this registry is not the impact of this water crisis, but we really hope to show how we turned the story around and how we were able to provide these kids with a nutrient-rich environment with robust early education, literacy support, nutrition and healthcare support and how doing that proactively mitigated the impact of this crisis.
“This is not a two or three year problem. This is something we need to be investing in for years, if not decades, to come. And we do not have that long term support to not only make sure that our kids recover, but thrive.”
Dr. Mona details her work on improving literacy and nutrition for Flint’s children.
“Nutrition plays a critical role in why this crisis was so damaging, but also nutrition plays an even more critical role in terms of the mitigation. We need great nutrition for brain development. That’s a no-brainer. Nutrition plays a really incredible role in preventing the long term consequences of the lead exposure. So we need kids to have ready access to really great food so that their brains can grow and that they can develop and we don’t see the consequences.”
Hanna-Attisha tells Heinze it was an honor to be Congressman Dan Kildee’s guest at President Trump’s first address to Congress. She says Kildee has “been an absolute fighter for Flint.” She liked a lot of what President Trump had to say about infrastructure, “but I would have liked to have heard more about investment in human infrastructure.”
Greening of the Great Lakes airs inside MSU Today Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on AM 870.