Hurley Children’s Hospital has teamed up with Michigan State University to launch a comprehensive years-long effort to help Flint children after the citywide lead exposure from tainted municipal water.
The new Pediatric Public Health Initiative, announced in January, will address the lead exposure and its effects on multiple fronts, including assessments, continued research and monitoring and interventions necessary for improving children’s health and development. It brings together experts in pediatrics, child development, psychology, epidemiology, nutrition, toxicology, geography and education, and includes the Genesee County Health Department, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and MSU Extension for the children Hurley and MSU have a long history of collaboration, including MSU’s College of Human Medicine’s 35-year medical education program with Hurley Medical Center. In addition, MSU recently expanded its Division of Public Health, supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which brought new public health researchers to Flint. “MSU and Hurley Children’s Hospital already have the infrastructure in place in Flint to support the Pediatric Public Health Initiative,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “With the university’s research, education and outreach expertise supporting this model public health program, together we will help build a healthier, brighter future for Flint’s children.” “As the region’s premier public teaching facility, Hurley Children’s Hospital is so pleased to be joining MSU as part of th
is vital initiative. We take our responsibility of advocating for children very seriously, and we look forward to the role that we will have in this essential initiative,” said Melany Gavulic, RN, MBA, President and Chief Executive Ofﬁcer, Hurley Medical Center leading the wayThe joint venture will be led by Mona Hanna-Attisha MD, MPH, FAAP, Director, Pediatric Residency at Hurley Children’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at MSU College of Human Medicine.
Hanna-Attisha’s study of lead levels in local children was crucial in bringing the lead exposure to light and prompting governmental agencies to take action. “The creation of this Pediatric Public Health Initiative will give Flint children a better chance at future success,” Hanna-Attisha said. “This initiative will bring in a team of experts to build a model pediatric public health program which will continue to assess, monitor and intervene to optimize children’s outcomes.” Projects for Health The Pediatric Public Health Initiative will focus on interventions for children in the areas of education, nutrition and health/medical needs.
PROJECT MAY INCLUDE:
Identifying and tracking exposed children.
Deﬁning a universal Pre-K program.
Addressing food insecurity.
Expanding nutrition education.
A ﬁrst project has been completed. MSU Extension nutrition staff members worked with Hurley Medical Center to provide nutrition education, including recipes high in iron, calcium and Vitamin D — all of which help block the absorption of lead into the body — and have held cooking demonstrations at the Flint Farmers’ Market. MSU Extension staffers have shared the recipes through its Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP) education classes.
The MSU Pediatric Public Health Fund joins others in generating long-term support for Flint’s children affected by lead exposure. More information on the MSU fund is available at WWW. HUMANMEDICINE.MSU.EDU/PPHI/. The Community Foundation of Greater Flint established the Flint Child Health and Development Fund. For more information on this fund, please visit WWW.FLINTKIDS.ORG.