SVSU is set to host Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha for a lecture about the water crisis in Flint on Monday, Oct. 25.
“Hanna-Attisha’s public lecture will underscore the fact that this issue happened in Flint because it is one of our nation’s poorest cities and the catastrophic results highlight what happens when we do not have equality nor equity,” Heidi Lang the pre-health professions advisor said. “It is imperative that our students learn about what went wrong in Flint and best practices to ensure this does not happen again in any city.”
Lang said Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician, scientist, public health advocate and author of the bestselling book, “What the Eyes Don’t See,” which chronicled the Flint Water Crisis.
“Hanna-Attisha is founder and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley’s Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative,” Lang said. “She has testified twice before the United States Congress, awarded the Freedom of Expression Courage by PEN America, and named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the world for her role in uncovering the Flint Water Crisis and leading recovery efforts.”
Lang said that Hanna-Attisha’s book is a firsthand look at the water crisis in Flint.
“In 2014, a change in the city’s water source resulted in astronomical amounts of lead set- tling into the drinking water, causing irreversible damage to Flint’s residents. Hanna-Attisha used science to prove Flint kids were exposed to lead and showed tremendous courage when she publicly shared her research and faced brutal backlash from our own state government, who challenged her assertions and her credibility,” Lang said. “Given her family background in activism, Hanna-Attisha persisted and led the charge to have the water source changed and has made it her mission to do all that she can to continue advocating for Flint’s youngest citizens, the children, through the Flint Child Health and Development fund.”
Lang said that Hanna-Attisha’s story is a les- son for everyone about the dangers of making costly decisions that impact future generations to come.
“Students, faculty, and staff will hear about the importance of bringing all voices to the table – the value of inclusion – when making life altering decisions as opposed to only looking at balancing budgets,” Lang said. “The argument in the media–and shared repeatedly in the book – is that this water issue would not have happened in affluent communities. It happened because it was in Flint, which is ranked among the nation’s top 5 poorest cities. For $80 to $100 per day, Flint’s residents could have been spared this mental and physical tragedy–richer communities would have found the resources to make sure it was done right.”
Lang said that this lecture was made possible through SVSU’s Early Assurance Program partnership with MSU’s College of Human Medicine and sponsored in part by an SVSU Foundation Resource Grant.