UM-Flint To Offer Free Course On Water Crisis

FLINT — The University of Michigan-Flint will offer a special free course on the Flint water crisis and related issues. The course is available free to the community, and to students as a 1-credit course.

The initiative from the university’s Department of Public Health and Health Sciences will start Jan. 21 and will feature panel discussions with leaders and experts in the Flint water crisis.

There will be at least eight sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the semester. The department will post updated information about the content and schedule as it evolves. Students can now register for the first four sessions of the course at

Said Dr. Suzanne Selig, PHHS director: “We want to promote a further understanding of this crisis and discuss lessons learned as we move forward together to promote better health for all in our community … This course will focus on what is already known about the crisis, along with any developing information that surfaces throughout the semester.”

Marla Sievers, a University of Michigan graduate student, contributed to the planning of the course. Sievers, an administrator at a community health center in New Mexico, earned her graduate certificate in the foundations of public health from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. To complete her Master in Public Health, she came to UM-Flint in May 2015. Since then, she has been researching the Flint water crisis.

“One of the takeaways from the water class that I hope students and community members come away with is an increased awareness of what is well known and researched among public health professionals and that is about half of an individual’s overall health and wellness is largely influenced by their environment,” Sievers said. “

The course’s first four installments will all take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., in the Park Place Room at Northbank Center, 432 N. Saginaw St., Flint.

The first installment in the course, “What happened: how did we get here? Setting the stage, a History of Flint,” will be held Thursday, Jan. 21. Panelists will include Richard Sadler, PhD, assistant professor of family medicine in the Division of Public Health, Michigan State University; E. Yvonne Lewis, founder and CEO of the National Center for African American Health Consciousness; and Melissa Mays, community member of the organization Wateryoufightingfor.

The next installment, “Public Health and Water Safety,” will be held Thursday, Jan. 28. Panelists will include Mark Valacak, MPH, Health Officer, Genesee County Health Department; Kent Key, PhD, Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, University of Michigan Ann Arbor; and Jennifer Carrera, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Michigan State University.

On Wednesday, Feb. 10, it’s the “Science of Water Delivery.” Panelists will include Jim Henry, Environmental Health Supervisor, Genesee County Health Department; and Michael Shock, chemist at the water supply and water resources division, of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, the course will cover “Health implications of the Flint water crisis.” Panelists will include Marc Edwards, CEE, of the Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech University; Lawrence Reynolds, M.D., Mott Children’s Health Center; and Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD MPH FAAP, of Hurley Children’s Hospital, Michigan State University.

The university said future topics in the course may include where municipal water comes from and why it matters, defining healthy water and water regulations, water as a political issue, how economics impact water, and more.

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