Experts discuss future of Flint, water crisis at MSU forum

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – MSU researchers are figuring out ways for the City of Flint to recover from its water crisis.

Today, experts shared their ideas for improving health and the role of state government.

The Flint water crisis – experts say it’s far from over. But they also say it’s time to think about the future.

“We’re looking forward, and we’re trying to provide hope for our community and hope for our children,” said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Director or Pediatric Residency at Hurley Children’s Hospital in Flint.

Hope – something Dr. Hanna-Attisha shared on a panel today hosted by MSU.

She talked about the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, an effort by MSU and Hurley Children’s Hospital, which includes interventions to help buffer children’s’ exposure to lead.

“So that when we do research these kids in ten, twenty years, we won’t see the consequences of lead poisoning,” Dr. Hanna-Attisha said.

The interventions include health education and even cooking classes.

But health isn’t the only issue. Josh Sapotichne, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at MSU, says there’s a big problem with how the government works.

“Just the sort of general animosity that kind of characterizes the relationship between the State of Michigan and its local governments,” Sapotichne said.

Sapotichne says the state places financial restrictions on local governments, making it difficult for them to deal with emergencies like the one in Flint.

He says a change in policy is the best way forward.

“There needs to be some flexibility built in,” Sapotichne said.

And Dr. Hanna-Attisha says, whatever changes are made, everyone’s priority should be the children who’ve been affected.

“We need to do everything for them because this was not their responsibility,” Dr. Hannah-Attisha said.

Be sure to stay with 6 News for more updates on the Flint water crisis – both on air and online on WLNS.com.

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