2016-01-21 / News

MSU, Hurley working out initiative to combat lead poisoning in Flint’s children

By Sam Tunningley
810-452-2661 • stunningley@mihomepaper.com


Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint pediatrician at the Hurley Medical Center, introduces her new collaborative initiative on Jan. 14, to help the children affected by Flint’s water crisis. 
Photo by Samuel Tunningley Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint pediatrician at the Hurley Medical Center, introduces her new collaborative initiative on Jan. 14, to help the children affected by Flint’s water crisis. Photo by Samuel Tunningley FLINT – A joint Pediatric Public Health initiative between Hurley Medical Center and Michigan State University to intervene on the mass lead poisoning in the children of Flint, was announced last week.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Hurley Medical pediatrician and assistant professor at the Michigan State College of Human Medicine in Flint, said the partnership is the “bringing together of great minds.” Hanne-Attisha discovered elevated lead levels in the children of the city during August of last year.

“We can sit back 10 or 15 years and do nothing, and we can see the consequences of this population wide lead exposure,” said Hanna-Attisha. “Or we could do something.”

Dr. Hanna-Attisha pointed out three main goals the initiative is hoping to set in motion: continued assessment work to collect data and see how many children have high blood levels, ongoing monitoring of those impacted and work on intervention in order to prevent long-term consequences.

She also stated the initiative will focus primarily on studied methods of intervention, such as nutrition, education and health for the children suffering.

The College of Human Medicine has been working with the Hurley Medical Center for almost 40 years and has recently expanded the reach of its Division of Public Health to bring new researchers to Flint.

“[MSU] is one the cutting edge of protecting public health for Flint,” said Dean Sienko, the director of the Division of Public Health at MSU. “This is a precedent-setting event.”

Lead, a toxicant, is shown to have damaging effects on exposed children, resulting in cognitive impairment, delinquency and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

“My job, every day, is to take care of that kid in front of me,” said Hanna-Attisha.

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