Founder and director, Michigan State University Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, commonly known as Dr. Mona, has advocacy in her blood. Born in Sheffield, England, her parents were Iraqi scientists and dissidents who fled Saddam Hussein’s regime before eventually settling in Michigan. A pediatrician, public health advocate and professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Hanna-Attisha caused a public outcry when she exposed the Flint, Michigan, water crisis in 2015.
Because of the public health implications, she risked her career and published her findings before they had been scientifically peer reviewed. She founded the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, a partnership between Hurley Medical Center and Michigan State University, to mitigate the impact of the crisis on Flint children.
And when the COVID-19 outbreak began this year, Hanna-Attisha was at the forefront to explain how the virus was affecting the community in Flint. The well-respected doctor also described her own battle with COVID-19 after contracting the disease herself, one of the first high-profile doctors to discuss a personal battle.