28 Days That Saved a City. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha & the Fight for Flint.

PeerSpectrum.com- Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

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…

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The Peer Patient: Mara Howard-William’s Path from Scoliosis Patient to Global Health Expert


Name: Mara Howard-Williams

Location: UNC, Chapel Hill.

Specialty: Former scoliosis patient and Graduate Research Assistant at America’s Health Rankings

I wish there were people my age I could have talked to.”-Mara Howard-Williams

Today we’re happy to welcome Mara Howard Williams to the show. Mara has traveled extensively throughout the US, and around the world supporting critical medical mission work. She currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant at America’s Health Rankings while also pursing her masters in the School of Global Public Health at UNC, Chapel Hill.

Mara is a special guest for us because she’s also one of Keith’s former patients. Diagnosed in her early teens with advanced scoliosis, Mara underwent corrective deformity surgery (by Keith) when she was just fifteen years old. Following her recovery, Mara was asked to offer advice and help to several other young patients facing similar paths. Mara was happy to help, wishing she had had someone (her age) to talk with before her surgery. It didn’t take long for Mara to recognize that more than just a few kids needed help. She took the initiative and started an incredibly successful support network called BalkTalk. This was a place where kids could talk with, and ask questions of, peers just like themselves.

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