In 1960, the population of Flint, Michigan was nearly 200,000 people. It was a center of American manufacturing and economic prosperity. But in the decades that followed, manufacturers abandoned their Flint operations. Many White families left for the suburbs and the now majority Black city entered a state of economic decline. In 2011 then-Governor Rick Snyder appointed an emergency manager. This government official had the authority to override decisions made by Flint’s city council and mayor in the interest of reducing the city’s debt. In 2014, in an effort to cut costs, the city switched its longstanding water supply from the Detroit Water Department to the nearby untreated Flint river. This decision led to a public health crisis that will affect the city for generations.

In this episode of Population Healthy Season 3: Race, Inequity, and Closing the Health Gap, we explore how the city of Flint faces a myriad of interwoven and complex public health challenges and how incorporating the voices of the city’s residents into research and decision making through the practice of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) can lead to more positive and meaningful health outcomes for the community.

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