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Environment & Sustainability

Science as Social Change: The Woman who Saved Flint's Children

Friday, June 22, 2018
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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"We need to be fighting for all children, no matter where they came from, what they look like, what their citizenship is." – Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

A few years ago, the country watched in horror as the national media descended on Flint, Michigan. A switch in drinking water sources - from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River - had caused nearly 100,000 residents to be exposed to dangerous amounts of lead. Those most affected were children whose lead blood levels doubled or, in some cases, tripled after the switch was made, resulting in developmental and behavioral problems.

That research, conducted by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a first generation Iraqi immigrant and Detroit-raised pediatrician, paved the way for government officials in Flint to acknowledge the extent of the water crisis, resulting in $100 million in federal and $250 million in state funding to clean the water and combat the effects. Personally, she remains committed to ensuring the health of Flint's children as the director of the Pediatric Public Health Initiative and founder of the Flint Child Health and Development Fund

For her efforts, Dr. Hanna-Attisha has received countless awards including being the co-recipient of the first MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award for embodying the idea that "science and scholarship are as powerful tools for social change as art and protest."

Join us for a conversation with Dr. Hanna-Attisha, author of What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City, on her fight against environmental injustice, how the residents of Flint have prevailed, and what we can do to prevent future public health crises.

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