Public Health in Flint

The pandemic brought into even sharper focus the health care disparities faced by communities of color. The MSU College of Human Medicine's Flint campus is working in multiple ways with partners to address the area's most pressing public health needs.

Dr. Debra Furr-Holden

"I have a commitment to Flint that began early in adolescence. My action-oriented research is embedded with the principles and practices of community-based participatory research, so that I conduct my research with my community and other research partners and not 'to' them or 'for' them."

Dr. Debra Furr-Holden
Associate Dean for Public Health Integration
College of Human Medicine

MSU College of Human Medicine
Division of Public Health

Community and health organizations from the Flint area have a long history of activism, passion, and commitment to the people who live, work, and care about the City of Flint and Genesee County. In 2004 those organizations began working to bring a medical school to their area with the belief that it would advance their ability to address public health issues and ongoing efforts for economic revitalization.

The MSU College of Human Medicine's Flint campus was established to work side-by-side with community partners and health care providers in a community-identified and community-participatory public health focus model, with particular attention to health disparities and health equity solutions.

The Division of Public Health was established in 2015 and is the community-engaged public health program at the MSU CHM Flint campus. Debra Furr-Holden, an epidemiologist and C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health, has been its administrative and programmatic leader since 2017. In June 2019 Dr. Furr- Holden, a returning Flint resident, was named associate dean for public health integration. In this role she provides strategic leadership to shape and implement university-wide public health initiatives in research, education, community outreach and engagement, and service.

Visit the Division of Public Health website

Flint Research

Division of Public Health researchers address pressing community needs: COVID-19, drug and alcohol dependence, depression, suicide risk reduction, racial disparities in mental health, improving the health of adult Black men, colorectal cancer awareness, toxic stress in children, protecting the health of Flint children exposed to lead, and more. From 2015 – 2021, Michigan State University's public health researchers have been awarded an estimated $76 million in externally sponsored grants for community research.

Visit the Flint Research website

Master of Public Health

The MSU College of Human Medicine offers an online master's degree in Public Health that prepares students to protect the health of people and communities, stand up for health disparities, and become part of the solution to better health outcomes.

Visit the Master of Public Health website

Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions (FCHES)

FCHES is a Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). Dr. Furr-Holden is the director and principal investigator for FCHES, giving leadership to community-based, collaborative intervention research projects. The Church Challenge focuses on prevention of chronic physical health conditions, specifically obesity and cardiovascular disease. The Strengthening Flint Families project focuses on prevention of chronic behavioral health conditions, specifically substance abuse and mental illness. These initiatives are aimed at reducing health inequities in Flint and providing insights to promote translational approaches in the community and more broadly across the United States.

Visit the FCHES website

Pediatric Public Health Initiative (PPHI)

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is founder and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children's Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative. PPHI was formed in 2016 to mitigate the impact of the Flint Water Crisis and serve as a national resource for best practices. Efforts include community and clinical programs, childhood health policy, advocacy, and evaluation.

Visit the PPHI website

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