Water crisis seminars begin at UM-Flint

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FLINT ( WJRT) - (01/22/16) - Much like water itself, information is a precious commodity in any community.

That's the idea behind a series of forums that are now underway in Flint.

The University of Michigan-Flint launched an eight-part series on the city's water crisis this week.

In the coming months, experts and residents will come together to share their knowledge on that topic.

Several hundred people gathered Thursday on the UM-Flint campus to participate and learn more about the city's on-going water emergency.

"With some of the misinformation that's been tossed around and, you know, some stuff that's come to light after the fact, it can be hard to know, is this legit, is this something I can depend on," said Rick Sadler, a doctor and family medicine professor at Michigan State University.

Experts from all over the state have signed up for the series. Students can get college credit for taking part.

The public is also invited to learn about and discuss current and future plans to deal with the crisis.

"We really need to make sure we have information, so, not only this can be studied, so it can be prevented, but for people to actually know, like, a lot of the stories, that, maybe they weren't paying attention to, through the months we were on the Flint water system," said Flint Democracy Defense League CEO Nayyirah Shariff.

"I'm interested to get as much information as I can in order to help contribute to treating patients and other citizens that are affected by it," said UM-Flint student Aimee Brubaker.

"I live in Lansing, so I commute, so it's not something that's directly impacting me, but I know it's impacting a lot of those that I work with on a daily basis and I want to see if there is anything I can do to support them," said James Schirmer, an English professor at UM-Flint.

The goal is to promote dialogue and hear the concerns of a community facing years of uncertainty about one of life's most basic needs.

Genesee County Health Plan Outreach Director E. Yvonne Lewis recognizes just how important these seminars can be.

"The water issue has been an issue for a long, long time. But, we also want them to know what resources are available. And then we want it to be shared, from a community perspective, what the issue are," Lewis said.

Additional lectures will feature Virginia Tech engineer Marc Edwards and Hurley doctor Mona Hanna-Attisha.

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