From the editor:

Getting it right

Oct. 10, 2018

It has been years since the Flint water crisis began. By now, most people in Michigan, and far beyond, know about the tragic lead poisoning of the residents through their drinking water. Beginning in 2014 after a switch of water sources, the effects of the contamination will impact the community and its residents for at least a generation. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to realize that the tiniest residents of Flint are forever changed because they simply drank water in their homes.

Most people probably also know that MSU researcher and pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha helped prove the children were being poisoned. It was a critical step that took incredible Spartan determination on her part. But, that’s not where Spartans stop. It’s simply not enough to identify a problem, or even the cause without looking for solutions.

So, that’s what Spartans are doing – looking for the right solutions. A host of experts from MSU are working with partners from the City of Flint, Genesee County, Hurley Children’s Hospital, local health departments and others to address immediate and long-term needs of the community. Spartans will not give up on Flint or its residents.

Debra Furr-Holden, C.S. Mott Endowed Professor and interim director of the MSU College of Human Medicine Division of Public Health, is one such Spartan. She and her MSU colleagues from a variety of areas of expertise are working together to help the city and lessen the damage caused by lead. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: A better future for Flint, to learn more about their efforts and why their goal is: “How to get this right for Flint.”

Because of Flint, we have learned how devasting one change in water source can be. Laura Twardochleb, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior Program, has dedicated her studies to protect biodiversity. Read her STUDENT VIEW: How climate change impacts biodiversity, and learn how she hopes to conserve clean drinking water for future generations.

Making societal changes to improve life for people takes a lot of hard work. It takes scientists and researchers for sure. It also takes the right person to advocate and navigate process. Which is exactly the role of an ombudsperson. October 11 is the inaugural “Ombuds Day” as designated by the American Bar Association. But did you know that MSU’s Office of the University Ombudsperson is the longest standing ombuds office at any college or university in the United States? Check out the FACULTY VOICE: Ombuds Day sheds light on key role, from Shannon Lynn Burton, the current university ombudsperson to learn more about her job.

Spartans like Debra, Mona, Laura and Shannon are fiercely committed to get their jobs right because they know people’s lives depend on it. In a world where it’s easier to just do a job, Spartans won’t settle until they get it right. #SpartansWill.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by Derrick L. Turner