Hurley’s Mona Hanna-Attisha MD MPH is among the best physicians in the world, according to a Dec. 14, 2016, Medscape ranking of the best and worst physicians globally in 2016.
Hanna, director of the Hurley Medical Center/ Michigan State University Pediatric Residency Training Program, gained international attention when she released research findings about lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Mich., during a press conference at Hurley Medical Center, Flint. The findings were later published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Hanna now also heads up the Flint-based MSU-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, which includes a multidisciplinary team of people to work on the “tomorrow problem” to mitigate the known detrimental effects of lead exposure.
The PPHI is important because “there is no pill for lead exposure,” Hanna said.
That means it is crucial to immediately assess, research, monitor, and intervene to help improve children’s health and development, with help from experts in pediatrics, child development, psychology, epidemiology, nutrition, toxicology, geography, education, and community and workforce development.
In the Medscape physician-ranking slide show “Physicians of the Year 2016: Best and Worst” by Megan Brooks (writer), Fredy Perojo (photographer), and Deborah Flapan (director of Medscape Medical News), Hanna is listed first in the Best Physicians category, as “champion for Flint, Michigan, and its 100,000 residents beleaguered by lead-contaminated drinking water.”
Hanna, who also was named one of Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people for 2016, is tireless when advocating for children, “who have no voice,” she said.
Such examples in advocacy have been invaluable to her pediatric residents, said Pediatric Chief Resident Allison Schnepp MD, who coauthored the initial lead article with Hanna.
“Dr. Hanna has been a great mentor in terms of learning how to navigate the world of medicine and politics,” said Schnepp. “I learned that we truly can make a difference – and that is pretty inspiring.”
In Hurley’s Pediatric Residency Program, advocacy is part of the curriculum. Residents learn how to select topics, how to briefly and clearly describe their importance, and how to speak up to people who can improve children’s health – namely, legislators.
And then they go to the capitol each year and do just that, talk to lawmakers about the most pressing pediatric health issues and how to best help children.
“We have to speak up for the children because there is no one else to do it,” Hanna said.
Medscape is a news, education, expert opinion, point-of-care drug and disease information website for health professionals and is part of the WebMD Health Professional Network. It summarizes peer-reviewed articles in medical journals and covers breaking news in new drugs, scientific findings, and major conference proceedings.