Members on the Front Lines: Fighting Lead in Flint

02/05/2016 – Lead poisoning continues to be a threat in the community of Flint, Mich. As the federal and local government continue to address the crisis, Academy members are tackling the issues affecting their communities and educating the public on the positive impact food and nutrition can have when it comes to lead exposure.

Bethany Thayer, MS, RDN, FAND, president of the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Marci Scott, PhD, RDN, vice president of health programs at the Michigan Fitness Foundation, are among the many Academy members helping residents of Flint fight their exposure to lead in the city's drinking water, including educating the public on ways to decrease the impact of lead absorption through their diet. Members' efforts have been noted by Michigan's congressional delegation, including Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

The Flint water crisis has gained national media attention and a reemergence of the role nutrition plays in the fight against lead exposure. In addition to the Michigan affiliate and its members coming to the aid of their community, Academy members across the nation are getting involved. Most recently, Lorelei DiSogra, EdD, RD, vice president of nutrition and health for the United Fresh Produce Association, led the charge in getting Blue Cross Blue Shield to donate salad bars to Flint Community Schools. In addition, Leigh Ann Edwards, MPH, RD, national program operations director for Cooking Matters at Share Our Strength, is now involved in the Head Start community helping mothers to understand the connection between food and lead absorption.

The Academy will continue to support members' efforts in Michigan and continue to raise national awareness of the issue.