Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha of Flint, MI, to Receive the Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service

Posted by Tess Waggoner on February 13, 2020 in Blog

Having learned of the contamination of Flint’s water supply, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha moved quickly to collect and produce the scientific data needed to establish the dangers and scope of the threat. Officials had already ignored the complaints of community members, faith leaders and advocates, so Dr. Hanna-Attisha knew that getting the word out to the public was the only way to save lives and protect her pediatric patients. Risking her career and reputation, she publicly pushed back against the officials who attempted to discredit her by calling her ‘hysterical.’ 

Her early action would save lives and give hope to a generation of children and families poisoned by their own public water supply. Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s perseverance in ensuring the Flint catastrophe reached the level of national discussion, exemplifies her dedication to community and country. Once more, at a time when science is being ignored by too many, her research and commitment to scientific facts has paved the way for exposure of other water crises in our country. Her fight has also given new purpose to the battle against environmental racism and for clean communities.

Her best-selling book, What the Eyes Don’t See, was an official selection of the New York Times Book Review for ‘100 Notable Books of 2018’. The Washington Post called her book, “A clarion call to live a life of purpose.” For her role in uncovering the Flint water crisis and leading recovery efforts, she has received a Freedom of Expression Courage Award by PEN America, the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling, and the inaugural MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award. She was also named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. 

It was only five years ago that Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha fought back against the system to expose the Flint water crisis. Today, Dr. Hanna-Attisha is founder and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative in Flint, Michigan. It’s an innovative and comprehensive pediatric public health program designed to help all Flint children grow up healthy and strong. An Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Human Development and a C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health at Michigan State University, Dr. Hanna-Attisha is also the founding donor of the Flint Child Health and Development Fund. Championing the health rights of children, she has testified twice before Congress and appeared numerous times on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, and countless other media outlets. 

A proud immigrant, Dr. Hanna-Attisha is also a passionate advocate for those who seek refuge, sanctuary, and hope in the United States. 

For her dedication and commitment to ensuring the well-being of her community and her commitment to justice, the Arab American Institute Foundation is proud to present Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha with the Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service


For more information about the 2020 Gala, including to reserve tickets, book accommodations, read about the history of the awards and more, please visit: www.aaiusa.org/gibran2020