March 11, 2016 (Flint, Mich) — City of Flint Mayor, Dr. Karen Weaver was joined by Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Mark Durno, the On-scene Coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Friday at City Hall for a press conference to introduce a new member of her team straight from Washington, DC. “One of my priorities as Mayor has been to build a strong team at City Hall so that we can address the pressing needs of the residents of Flint,” Mayor Weaver said.
This week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services appointed Assistant Surgeon General Michelle Dunwoody, a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, as temporary senior advisor to Mayor Weaver to assist in the aftermath of the Flint water crisis.
“I want thank President Obama for sending us a senior officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, an Assistant Surgeon General, who will be joining my team for the next 30-days as my Medical and Public Health Advisor.” Weaver announced.
Admiral Dunwoody will work with Mayor Weaver and her team to enhance the capabilities of the medical and health team in Flint and work with Weaver’s administration in reviewing and enhancing the City of Flint’s Public Health and Medical Recovery Plan. Dunwoody says she’s ready to get to work.
“I’m very excited and honored to work closely with the Mayor,” said Admiral Dunwoody. “In my role as Medical and Public Health Advisor, I will supervise a Corps-based community engagement team and work with Mayor Weaver to establish immediate, mid, and long-term goals for the City of Flint Public Health and Medical Recovery Plan.”
Dunwoody say the end goal is to make sure the residents of Flint have access to safe and clean water.
Part of her role will involve working with Mayor Weaver to identify a permanent adviser to the Mayor on public health, and to assemble the framework of a health advisory board for the City.
Mayor Weaver said this is a great opportunity for her and the citizens of Flint.
“Admiral Dunwoody, I know I speak for the people of Flint when I say thank you for coming here and adding your expertise to our recovery work. I look forward to working with you.”
During the press conference, Mayor Weaver took the time to remind Flint residents that they also play an important role in the city’s recovery.
She urged residents to continue to test their water and advised parents, especially those with young children, to have their children’s blood tested for lead exposure.
“This is important because we need the information on where lead levels in the water system are still high, and we need to identify children who have lead exposure so that we can get them the resources they need to help combat the effects of being exposed to lead,” Weaver said.
Residents can get their water tested, by first picking up a free water test kit from one of the water distribution sites in Flint, then following the directions on how to fill the container with water. Once the containers are filled, residents can drop them off with the completed form they come with, at any water distribution site or City Hall.
“We shouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. So we’re looking for all the help we can get,” added Mayor Weaver. “That’s why I’m really excited to have Admiral Dunwoody here because one of the things I’ve said from the beginning was, this isn’t just an infrastructure crisis, it’s a public health crisis. So, for the federal government to really hear what we were saying and to send somebody here is a wonderful thing.”