Saturday, November 05, 2016

Flint’s mayor taps FAMU alumna as expert advisor in Flint water crisis

Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumna Pamela Pugh has been appointed chief public health advisor to Flint, Michigan Mayor Karen Warren. Pugh said her alma mater prepared her for the task at hand.

“In addition to academics, FAMU was all about people and cultivating relationships,” she said. “As chief public health advisor, I will use what I learned at FAMU to rebuild the city’s relationship with the residents of Flint.”

In her position, Pugh will provide crucial insight to the mayor on how to assist Flint residents still struggling to gain access to clean water. As a direct result of the recent water crisis, the city is also dealing with a shigellosis outbreak due to some residents avoiding washing their hands with the city’s water. Shigellosis is a highly contagious gastrointestinal disease.

“I hope to work with the mayor to weave health into all aspects of our thinking, particularly around policy,” she said. “I recognize how tremendous of an undertaking this is, and I really hope to be of service to the people of Flint. They deserve it.”

Pugh’s parents also attended FAMU and inspired her to pursue a career in public service.

She was previously employed by the Saginaw County Department of Public Health for 14 years.

“My parents were insistent upon my sisters and me seizing the tools to help and influence others in the area of public health, and mostly importantly, getting an education at FAMU,” she explained. “I definitely made the right choice.”

In turn, Pugh influenced her niece Andrea Pugh to do the same. Andrea received her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from FAMU during its fall 2016 commencement ceremony. She is following in her aunt’s footsteps, and pursuing an advanced degree in public health from the University of Michigan.

“At an early age, I was inspired by my aunt,” Andrea Pugh said. “Throughout my educational career she has been a helpful resource in my research on environmental health. She is an expert in the field, and I’m extremely proud of her.”

Pamela Pugh is a two-time recipient of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Dr. Montague Cobb Award for special achievement in social justice, health justice, and health education. She received a Doctorate of Public Health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from FAMU in 1994.

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