Frontier Forum Presents Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

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Flint Water Crisis Whistleblower Dr. Mona-Hanna-Attisha to Speak as Part of Frontier Forum Lecture Series

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The University of South Florida College of Arts and Sciences will welcome Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha as a featured speaker in the Frontier Forum lecture series. Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s lecture will be available to watch live, in a virtual setting, on Wednesday, Mar. 24 beginning at 7:00 p.m.

In 2014, a change in the city of Flint, Michigan’s water source resulted in dangerous quantities of lead leaching into the drinking water, causing serious harm to the city’s residents. As a local pediatrician, the poisonous levels of lead in the water shocked Dr. Hanna-Attisha, and she was further surprised and disappointed that the state government ignored complaints, protests, and reports from citizens, journalists, and experts. She knew that the only way to stop the lead poisoning would be to present undeniable proof on a national platform.

In this powerful talk, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha will deliver a personal account of her research and activism to expose and mitigate the effects of the Flint water crisis. Her dramatic story, from how she used science to prove that Flint children were affected by lead to the brutal backlash she faced after courageously going public with her findings, inspires audiences to safeguard their own communities by speaking truth to power. Her persistence paid off: the city switched the water back to its original source and then-President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency. She has since been called to testify three times before the United States Congress, was awarded the Freedom of Expression Courage Award by PEN America, and was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”.

Mona Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician, professor, and public health advocate who is now the director of an initiative to mitigate the impact of the Flint crisis and works to bring attention to the bureaucratic indifference that puts all citizens at risk.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s powerful book, "What the Eyes Don’t See", the topic of her lecture this evening, offers a first-hand account of the signature environmental disaster of our time and a riveting narrative of personal advocacy.

“Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s courage and humanitarian spirit opened the eyes of the country to see the injustice being inflicted on the citizens of Flint,” said Dr. Eric Eisenberg, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences. “As we now grapple with the current pandemic and the decisions that led us here, I look forward to hearing her perspective on the situation, the lessons that have been learned, and how we can best prepare for future public health crises.”

The Frontier Forum lecture series is sponsored by the USF Office of the Provost, the USF College of Arts and Sciences, and our many generous donors. Since 2010, the lecture series has hosted notable public intellectuals such as Jane Goodall, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Rory Kennedy, Roxane Gay, Corey Brettschneider, and most recently Ibram X. Kendi. Students, faculty, staff, and members of the Tampa Bay community have had the unique opportunity to learn from these accomplished speakers.

This Frontier Forum event is free and open to the public.

For more information on the speaker, visit

"What the Eyes Don't See" by Dr. Mona Hannah Attisha is available for purchase from the USF bookstore:


Timeline of Event:

6:45 - 7:00 Attendees join the event

7:00 – 7:10 Dean Eisenberg delivers opening remarks and introduction

7:10 – 7:40 Dr. Hanna-Attisha gives lecture

7:40 – 7:55 Live interactive Q&A

7:55 – 8:00 Dean Eisenberg delivers closing remarks

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