Washington – In the weeks following one of America’s largest public health infrastructure disasters in Flint, Mich., local communities and governments across the nation began to explore different strategies to prevent similar tragedies in their own cities and home states.

At 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, May 3, a panel of experts and advocates will deliver a webinar to the public and the media on what other communities around the country have done to take lead monitoring and abatement into their own hands; provide expert evidence about the consequences of lead poisoning in children; illustrate examples of work being done in Flint and Philadelphia to stop this scourge; and provide timely information about Congressional proposals to fund the solutions.

“Even though we’ve known for decades about the risks lead poses to our children, we’ve let the poisoning continue in communities nationwide. In Flint, we let it worsen,” said Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) and the moderator of Monday’s webinar. “This is a public health emergency on a massive, nationwide scale. We have to start treating it like one.”

Speakers for the May 3 Webinar include:

  • Jennifer A. Lowry, MD, a pediatrician and national expert on medical toxicology, including lead poisoning, practicing at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO. She directs the Mid-America Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PESHU) for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 and serves as chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Environmental Health. Lowry will discuss the effects of lead poisoning on children.
  • Colleen McCauley, Health Policy Director for Public Citizens for Children and Youth in Pennsylvania. McCauley will discuss the development and implementation of a successful Philadelphia ordinance for lead paint abatement in homes.
  • Pastor Robert McCathern, Flint Grassroots Initiative, Joy Tabernacle Church, Flint Michigan

As Congress has struggled to approve legislation and funding to address the massive infrastructure failure in Flint, it’s imperative that local communities and states begin taking action to protect their own children and families now.

“Communities can’t wait for Congress to act, and it’s clear from children’s advocates that more needs to be done locally to prevent undue harm to America’s children,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus. “Our aim is to shed some light on what’s being done effectively and replicate successful models across the country.”

Co-sponsors of the presentation include First Focus, CHN, Children’s Leadership Council, Partnership for America’s Children, the National Head Start Association, and MomsRising.

The presentation is open to the media, and presenters will be available for individual interviews with reporters after the webinar. A member of Congress has been invited to present, but has not yet been confirmed.

Click here to RSVP.


First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.firstfocus.org.