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A public health advocate — once named among the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine — will visit SVSU next week to discuss her role in uncovering the Flint water crisis.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha will appear for her presentation at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12, in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician, scientist, and public health advocate whose research and insistence helped reveal dangerous levels of lead in Flint's water supply following a change in the city's water source.

Hanna-Attisha is the founder and director of the Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, a model program aimed at mitigating the impact of the water crisis. The program combines community and clinical programs, childhood health policy and advocacy, and robust evaluation to provide Flint children the best chance at success.

She was recognized for her public health advocacy, courage and expertise by agencies and organizations across the nation. She testified twice before the United States Congress, was awarded the Freedom of Expression Courage by PEN America, and was named among Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2016.

In a summary of the doctor's selection to the prestigious list that year, Time published the following about Hanna-Attisha: "Residents knew something was wrong right away, but to get anyone to listen, it took civil-engineering professor Marc Edwards blowing the whistle on lead in the water and then Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a local pediatrician, testing Flint’s kids, proving they’d been poisoned. Up against official ignorance and indifference, Edwards and Hanna-Attisha were right, they were brave, and they were insistent. Flint is still a crime scene, but these two caring, tough researchers are the detectives who cracked the case."

TREMORS BEGAN SHAKING Puerto Rico just before New Year’s Eve, causing anxiety but only minimally disrupting festivities. On Three Kings Day, January 6, families across the island observed one of its most important holidays, with children awakening to gifts left by the biblical kings. In the predawn hours after the celebration, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit, jerking people out of their beds. Its epicenter on the southern coast was mere miles from the Costa Sur power plant, which provides about a quarter of the island’s electricity by burning natural gas and oil. The jolts knocked giant boilers off their bases, opened a fissure in one of the turbines, and destroyed the control center where the computers that run the system operate. Another natural gas plant, EcoEléctrica, was also damaged.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of the physical damage on the island was isolated in the south, all of Puerto Rico was plunged into darkness. It was déjà vu for many who had withstood months without electricity after Hurricane Maria, when a year and a half passed before power was fully restored.

The earthquake’s impact on Puerto Rico’s power grid was the opposite of Maria’s. During Maria, it was the transmission lines that were destroyed across the island. With the earthquake, it was the power plants themselves. But in both situations, the problem was essentially the same: Puerto Rico’s electric grid is too centralized to be resilient. While about 70 percent of power is generated in the south, 70 percent of demand is in the north.

In August of 2014, all eyes were on Ferguson, Missouri. The city’s mostly Black residents flooded the streets in protest after the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. In the middle of the chaos, the fluorescent golden arches of a local McDonald’s promised sanctuary: Protesters bought bottles of milk there to soothe eyes burned by tear gas. Journalists used the restaurant’s Wi-Fi and electricity to send off their stories. The restaurant was a gathering space for a community in crisis.

This is the scene Marcia Chatelain sets in the opening of her new book Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America. As Chatelain goes on to explain, McDonald’s has often found itself present for moments of conflict in African American history. McDonald’s first entered Black America in 1968, in the fallout from the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. After the civil rights wins of the mid-1960s, the country’s leaders wanted to bring economic justice to Black communities in the country’s inner cities. Civil rights leaders and government actors alike pointed to Black business ownership as the answer. Enter McDonald’s, which was all too eager to offer its franchise model as a path to economic prosperity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends rubbing on hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol when you aren’t able to wash your hands. Huge pumps and multipacks of bottles are flying off store shelves. But “alcohol-free” products — which are not recommended by the CDC — are also getting snatched up in the consumer frenzy.

Some of the hand sanitizers made by the brands Purell and Germ-X rely on benzalkonium chloride instead of alcohol as the active ingredient. Such non-alcohol antiseptic products may not work as well for many types of germs, the CDC says, or may merely reduce the growth of germs rather than killing them. They may be better than nothing, experts say. But people are buying them without knowing the difference.

Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers Are Selling Out, Despite Not Being Recommended by the CDC

These alcohol-free products are selling out, with internet price-gouging in full swing. At times, it can be hard to tell, by looking at the listings, that they’re different from the kind the CDC recommends.