Name: Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD
Specialty: Pediatrician and public health advocate
Location: Hurley Medical Center: Flint, MI
Today it’s our distinct privilege to have Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha on the show. Before her best selling book, her countless TV interviews, before Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world, “Dr. Mona” (as she is known) was just another pediatrician taking care of children in one of the poorest cities in the country.
If you’re like us, you probably think you know the Flint story pretty well. This episode may change your mind. Here’s some things we didn’t know:
- Flint Michigan was once one of America’s most prosperous cities. Many historians say the middle class was born there.
- The crisis began when the city switched its water source to the Flint river. This river was once so polluted it caught on fire twice.
- The entire crisis was completely avoidable, like 80 bucks a day avoidable!
- Lead poisoning may be one of the largest threats to American children today. It’s literally everywhere around us.
- The first abortion pill was made of lead
- The same thing happened that happened in Flint happened in Washington DC in 2004. Thousands of adults and children were exposed to high levels of lead contamination and we still have really no idea what the long term effects will be.
- Choosing to be a whistleblower carries tremendous risk. We only hear of the success stories. We never hear of about the whistleblowers who lose their jobs, go bankrupt, get divorced and even commit suicide.
This is an amazing and heroic story, but also a haunting one. You really have to wonder…what would have happened to Flint if there wasn’t a Dr. Mona to stand up and fight? We really don’t know. The best we can hope for is that by sharing her story, others may find the tools and the inspiration to do the same. With that said let’s get started…
Links and Resources:
Archaeologists study how lead poisoning affected the Roman Empire: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-archaeologists-poisoning-affected-roman-empire.html
Washington DC Water Crisis: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/area-affected-by-boil-water-area-significantly-reduced/2018/07/14/fbab1bac-8760-11e8-8f6c-46cb43e3f306_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6091d84db0a9
MIT Disobedience Award Winners: Mona Hanna-Attisha and Marc Edwards https://www.media.mit.edu/posts/disobedience2017-winners-finalists/
Dr. Mona’s website: https://monahannaattisha.com/
Dr. Mona’s TedTalk: https://www.tedmed.com/speakers/show?id=627282
Elevated Blood Lead Levels in Children Associated With the Flint Drinking Water Crisis: A Spatial Analysis of Risk and Public Health Response.
Surveying Resident and Faculty Physician Knowledge, Attitudes, and Experiences in Response to Public Lead Contamination.
Social and Built Environmental Correlates of Predicted Blood Lead Levels in the Flint Water Crisis.