STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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Flint pediatrician: Out of water crisis, opportunity

Sharyn Morrow
Flickr Creative Commons

  Last week I wrote about concerns facing kids living in the city of Flint. The biggest concern as of late revolves around negative health impacts due to the water crisis. The fear is that the behavioral and health consequences will put already disadvantaged children in an even tougher position to get ahead.

Since last week, I’ve talked with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha a second time. She’s a pediatrician and child advocate working in Flint. She reminded me that despite the impact the water crisis has had on the city’s most vulnerable residents, it’s not all “doom and gloom.”

“Our kids have gotten this exposure, but not every kid is going to have all these problems from lead,” Dr. Hanna-Attisha explains. “We have a very unique opportunity at secondary prevention; an opportunity to use this exposure to build a model public health program that can mitigate this exposure and lift all our kids.”

Could this actually work? Take a look at this talk Dr. Hanna-Attisha gave as part of a Michigan State University information series. It's about the power of holistic health care and services for Flint kids:

Dr. Hanna-Attisha says she plans to continue helping connect Flint residents with the resources they need.

“We are advocating for every kind of evidence-based resource for our kids – early education, nutrition, public health, home visiting programs, positive parenting, etc. – to combat this toxic stress and adverse childhood experience.”

Dr. Hanna-Attisha's points are a good thing to keep in mind when approaching the latest report from the Center for Michigan. It released a map of Michigan cities with even higher lead rates than Flint. You can find it here in Bridge Magazine.

As for the future of Flint, Dr. Hanna-Attisha is hopeful. “I do think our Flint kids stand a chance, and maybe now better than they ever did.”

To learn more about the Flint water crisis, tune in to Michigan Radiothis Wednesday, December 16 at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. for our one-hour documentary: Not Safe to Drink. 

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