IOWA CITY — A Michigan physician who played a major role in uncovering the water crisis in Flint, Mich., will be at the University of Iowa next week.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, pediatrician and founder of a public health initiative to address the effects of elevated lead levels in Flint, will be in Iowa City to give a public lecture Monday.
Hanna-Attisha will speak at 7 p.m. in the Callaghan Auditorium in the UI’s College of Public Health building at 145 N. Riverside Drive.
Hanna-Attisha was among the scientists, parents, community leaders and other whistleblowers who shed light on poor water conditions in Flint that resulted in elevated lead levels in its youngest residents — leading to increased risk factors for long-term cognitive and behavioral problems.
The Flint-based pediatrician first heard of problems with the city’s water in 2015. The year before, city officials changed the drinking water source from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River. However, according to news outlets and reports that have been released since, insufficient water treatment procedures exposed residents to elevated lead levels.
Hanna-Attisha began reviewing her patients’ medical records and noted the percentage of children with elevated lead levels increased since the water source switch in 2014, according to a report by NPR.
She revealed her findings during a 2015 news conference, and they were later confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016. She went on to testify twice before Congress on the crisis.
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She details her experience uncovering the Flint water crisis, as well as the backlash for her findings, in a book titled “What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City.”
Hanna-Attisha also established the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, a program formed to address the widespread lead exposure and reverse its effects on Flint’s children, according to biographical information provided by the University of Iowa.
Hanna-Attisha received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public health from the University of Michigan. She completed her medical training at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and her residency at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, according to her biography.
Hanna-Attisha also will participate in a spotlight lecture for UI College of Public Health faculty, staff and students on Monday.
For more information on Hanna-Attisha’s lecture, visit the College of Public Health’s website at public-health.uiowa.edu.
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