‘We are not going anywhere:’ MSU president given first tour of Flint medical school, children’s clinic by Dr. Mona
FLINT, MI — During Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley’s first visit to the Flint-based College of Human Medicine, he became part of a select group — he was gifted a water bottle chandelier from Dr. Mona.
Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint pediatrician who first found elevated levels of lead in the blood of Flint children during the city’s water crisis, has only gifted about 50 water bottle chandeliers.
Each has gone to a Flint partner that was crucial to a revitalization after the crisis.
The chandeliers are made by Flint preschoolers at Cummings Great Expectation. They are an example of children turning negatives into positives, Hanna-Attisha said.
Stanley is now a proud owner of his own chandelier, joining Senator Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Representative Fred Upton, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and others who’ve assisted Flint through the water crisis.
One of the first chandeliers is hanging in the Hurley Children’s Clinic lobby, where Hanna-Attisha surprised Stanley with his own.
Stanley was impressed by the Flint medical school’s connection to the community in his first visit since taking office, he said. That’s what makes this medical school different than others in Grand Rapids, Lansing and Traverse City, Stanley noted.
“This is a model for how you can do this kind of engagement in a way that is respectful to the community, gets their input and makes them partners,” he said. “As I said before, the impact is significant.
“We made a commitment 100 years ago to get engaged all over the state. So we are not going anywhere.”
Hanna-Attisha introduced Stanley to students currently working at the Hurley Children’s Clinic.
Gwen Reyes, pediatric residency program director, told the university president that community-oriented care is paramount due to Hanna-Attisha’s involvement.
Stanley’s visit comes after the university recently announced two new Flint-based partnerships to its medical school.
A partnership with Mott Community College allows medical students to register for early admission and an exclusive full-ride scholarship to the College of Human Medicine will now go to a Flint graduate each year.
These opportunities encourage students to practice in Flint after graduation, Stanley said.
“It’s so important because a lot of our work in Flint is about developing pipeline programs,” Hanna-Attisha said. “It’s about making sure that the community is served by people who look like them, are from this community, and who look like this community.”
Hanna-Attisha pointed to herself as an example of someone who earned their degree at MSU and was able to give back to the Flint community.
As many local high schools are preparing to celebrate their 2021 graduating classes, Stanley and Hanna-Attisha offered some words of encouragement.
Stanley recommended that students “start brushing their teeth” again to prepare for in-person classroom settings at most Michigan colleges and universities next fall.
“Even though things have gotten better in regards to the pandemic, we are not completely done,” he said. “The key thing on our campus has been empathy — we must recognize that these are challenging times.”
Hanna-Attisha emphasized the need to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before heading to college.
“It’s the only way we can get back to normal,” she said.
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