Mona Hanna-Attisha

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Mona Hanna-Attisha
Mona2x.jpg
Mona Hanna-Attisha
Born
Mona Hanna

(1976-12-09) 9 December 1976 (age 46)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan (B.S., M.P.H)
Michigan State University (M.D.)
Occupation(s)Pediatrician and professor
Employer(s)Hurley Medical Center (pediatrician)
Michigan State University (professor)
Known forUncovering the Flint water crisis
Awards

Mona Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician, professor, and public health advocate whose research exposed the Flint water crisis. She is the author of the 2018 book What the Eyes Don't See, which The New York Times named as one of the 100 most notable books of the year.[1]

Early life[edit]

Childhood and family[edit]

Born Mona Hanna in Sheffield, England, her parents are Iraqi scientists and dissidents who fled during the Baath regime.[2]

Education[edit]

She grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan and graduated from Royal Oak's Kimball High School.[3] Mona Hanna received her Bachelor of Science from University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, her Master of Public Health degree in Health Management and Policy from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

Residency[edit]

She completed her residency and chief residency at Wayne State University/Children's Hospital of Michigan.[4]

Career[edit]

In 2009, Hanna-Attisha served as the associate pediatric program director at Children's Hospital of Michigan where she supervised over 100 residents, the development of academic curriculums, online education platform implementation, recruitment of residents, and participated in program committees.[5]

Hanna-Attisha was appointed director of Hurley Medical Center’s pediatric residency program in 2011; there, she continued to supervise residents, develop instruction for students and a ‘master clinical teacher series’ for faculty.[5][6][7] In 2012, Hanna-Attisha was elected to the Michigan Board of Directors for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).[8]

In 2013, Hanna-Attisha was named a member of the Public Health Code Advisory Committee who was called upon by then Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to complete a comprehensive review of the then 35-year-old Michigan Public Health Code.[9]

Hanna-Attisha spoke at MSU Rx in 2014, an event modeled after TEDx, where she shared a presentation titled “What do you want to be when you grow up?” which focused on questions and challenges common to healthcare professionals and teachers working in urban settings like Flint, MI.[10][11]

In 2015, Hanna-Attisha led an effort to focus on “prevention and nutrition, along with care for children when they are sick” by moving the Hurley Children’s Clinic to be co-located atop the Flint Farmers’ Market where health professionals could “suggest fresh foods to purchase and guide [patients] through the process.”[12] In the spring, she received Michigan State University’s William B. Weil, Jr., MD Endowed Distinguished Pediatric Faculty Award after being nominated by her peers in recognition “for many years showing outstanding professional and clinical service to the children of our State, to our medical students and Residents, to our Department, the College and the University.”[13][14] In late 2015, Hanna-Attisha’s high school classmate and friend Elin Ann Warn Betanzo, an engineer and certified water operator, shared that there was a lack of proper drinking water treatment in Flint, Michigan and an increased potential for lead in the city’s water after a recent water source change and that action was not being taken by officials.[15][16] Hanna-Attisha learned that Marc Edwards, a civil engineering/environmental engineer from Virginia Tech University, had come to Flint in March 2015 and found that the lack of corrosion inhibitors in the new Flint water source was causing corrosion of water pipes and leaching of lead into drinking water.[17] Upon hearing about the possibility of lead in the water, Hanna-Attisha began a new research study using data available in electronic medical records.[18] Her study found that the percentage of children in Flint with over 5 micrograms per deciliter of lead in their blood increased from 2.1 percent to 4 percent after the city's water source changed from Lake Huron to the Flint River and that the areas of Flint with the highest water lead levels showed “the most drastic increases in elevated lead levels in children.”[19][20][21]

Because of the public health implications, she revealed her findings publicly and advocated for action at a 24 September 2015 press conference before her research was scientifically peer reviewed.[22][23] The next day, Flint issued a health advisory for residents, particularly children, to minimize exposure to Flint tap water.[24] Hanna-Attisha's research and findings were criticized by the spokesperson for the State of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality who accused her of being an "unfortunate researcher," "splicing and dicing numbers," and causing "near hysteria."[25][26][27] About ten days later, after the Detroit Free Press published its own findings consistent with those found by Hanna-Attisha, she then engaged in one-on-one conversations with Michigan's chief medical officer–the State of Michigan backed down and concurred with her findings.[28][29] Later, at a press conference in which the State of Michigan acknowledged the lead-in-water crisis, Department of Environmental Quality officials apologized to Hanna-Attisha.[30] In addition, Hanna-Attisha was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's executive order to the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee and Michigan Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board in response to the Flint water crisis and the Michigan Public Health Commission.[31][32][33]

On 14 January 2016, Michigan State University and the Hurley Children’s Hospital announced that Hanna-Attisha would lead a new Pediatric Public Health Initiative to partner with experts and clinicians to help the children of Flint who had been exposed to lead–the program serves as a center for excellence and a national resources for best practices related to lead exposure.[34][35][36] In Governor Snyder’s 19 January 2016 State of the State address, he publicly thanked Hanna-Attisha and Edwards for sounding the alarm about the Flint water crisis.[37][38] In late January, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint announced that Hanna-Attisha and a group of community members had established the Flint Child Health and Development Fund to accept charitable contributions nationwide “to support both short and long term needs of Flint’s children exposed to lead.”[39] In one year, the fund raised over $17 million and awarded over $2 million in grants directly supporting Flint kids' health and development.[40] Hanna-Attisha's findings were published in the February 2016 volume of American Journal of Public Health.[41] She testified again in April 2016 before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy and Subcommittee on Health regarding the need for federal action to help increase access to care and provide relief to the people impacted by the man-made disaster resulting from the Flint water crisis.[42][43] In July 2016, her research findings were confirmed in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is recognized as an underestimate of exposure.[44] Eventually, in part due to Hanna-Attisha's advocacy, $100 million in federal dollars was allocated to Flint in addition to approximately $250 million in state dollars to address the crisis.[45]

In January 2017, Hanna-Attisha received a grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to lay the groundwork for the Flint Registry.[46] She has served as the principal investigator of the registry, which has grown into a congressionally-funded and CDC-supported public health program that helps provide long-term surveillance of and support to Flint water crisis victims.[47] In March 2017, Hanna-Attisha was named vice-chair of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission.[48]

In 2018, Hanna-Attisha’s book What the Eyes Don't See, was published by Random House imprint One World by editor-in-chief Chris Jackson.[49] Her book has been described as a dramatic first-hand account of the Flint Water Crisis with the "gripping intrigue of a Grisham thriller."[50][51] In addition to positive reviews in the New York Times, the New York Times Book Review, and the Washington Post, What the Eyes Don't See was named a New York Times 100 Notable Book of 2018 and the Best Science Book of 2018 by NPR's Science Friday.[52][53][54][55] Portions of the proceeds of her book are donated to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund.[56] Anonymous Content optioned the book rights to make a movie, to be produced by Michael Sugar and Rosalie Swedlin, and written/directed by Cherien Dabis.[57]

In 2019, Hanna-Attisha’s book was named a Michigan Notable Book of 2019.[58] What the Eyes Don't See was also selected as the common read for the Great Michigan Read, Reading Across Rhode Island, and One Maryland One Book as well as dozens of university common read programs.[59][60][61][62]

In February 2020, Hanna-Attisha testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change that proposed revisions to the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule were “minimalistic and insufficient” and that “the proposed revisions do not fix these underlying issues, and will not address the national public health crisis of lead in our drinking water delivery system swiftly enough.”[63] In July 2020, Hanna-Attisha was named a C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.[64] She was also appointed to co-chair Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Protect Michigan Commission.[65]

In April 2021, Hanna-Attisha testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means to advocate for action related to the state of the nation’s drinking water infrastructure and the need to eliminate lead pipes.[66][67]

In February 2022, Hanna-Attisha testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures that the “state of our drinking water infrastructure is a public health crisis” for the nation and the importance of the Infrastructure Investment and Job Act to the elimination of lead pipes.[68][69]

Hanna-Attisha serves on several advisories/boards including Physicians for Human Rights Advisory Council, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) Board Member, JPB Foundation Poverty and Environment Steering Committee Member, Abraham Lincoln Brigades Archives Board Member, and University of Michigan School of Public Health Griffith Leadership Center in Health Policy and Management Advisory Board Member.[70][71][72][73][74]

Awards and honors[edit]

2016[edit]

2017[edit]

2018[edit]

  • Inducted to the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame by the Michigan Women's Historical Center.[95]
  • Honorary Co-Chair of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Transition Team.[96]

2019[edit]

  • Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare in 2019.[97] The award is a joint award presented in partnership between The Vilcek Foundation and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The award is bestowed to a foreign-born individual in the United States who has demonstrated an extraordinary impact on humanism in healthcare through their professional achievements.

2020[edit]

2021[edit]

2022[edit]

  • Excellence in Instruction Award, Michigan State University & Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative[citation needed]
  • John P. McGovern Award, Medical Library Association[107]
  • Inaugural Bernard Lown Award for Social Responsibility, Lown Institute[108]
  • Inaugural Social Justice Medicine in Action Award - The Blue Flame, Columbia University Postbac Premed Student Council, Social Justice Medicine Club[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Her husband, Elliott Attisha, is a pediatrician. They have two daughters.[109]

Publications[edit]

Peer-reviewed academic works[edit]

  • Saxe-Custack, A; Lofton, H; Egan, S; Dawson, C; Hanna-Attisha, M. (7 July 2022). "Challenges and Successes of a Pediatric Produce Prescription Program During COVID-19". Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 54 (7): S44–S45. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2022.04.096. S2CID 250340011. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  • Lieu, I; Hanna-Attisha, M; LaChance, J; Reyes, G; Saxe-Custack, A (14 June 2022). "Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the fruit and vegetable prescription program in a pediatric clinic". Current Developments in Nutrition. 6 (1): 135. doi:10.1093/cdn/nzac051.051. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  • Jones, N; Dannis, J; O’Connell, L; LaChance, J; LeWinn, K; Hanna-Attisha, M (16 May 2022). "Parent report of child behaviour: Findings from the Flint Registry cohort". Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 36 (5): 750–758. doi:10.1111/ppe.12888. PMC 9402223. PMID 35570835.
  • Hanna-Attisha, M; Hamp, N; O’Connell, L. (May 2022). "The promise of early intervention for lead-exposed children". JAMA Pediatr. 176 (5): 446–448. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.0017. PMID 35254394. S2CID 247252769. Retrieved 25 September 2022.

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