University of Michigan Alumni Association


U-M Alumnae Council recognizes Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha with the 2017 Athena Award


 Award Presentation

Saturday, October 21, 2017, 11:00 a.m.

University of Michigan Alumni Center

200 Fletcher Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Event is free and open to the public!


This Centennial year, the Alumnae Council salutes Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha as our Athena Award recipient. Dr. Hanna-Attisha is the Flint pediatrician-turned-whistleblower when, at 39, she forced the state of Michigan to concede to the months' long lead-poisoning of Flint's water.  Since that time, she has become an international expert on not just lead poisoning and Flint's children, but on government insensitivity to the less fortunate.

Started in 1973, the award is bestowed on outstanding alumnae who have distinguished themselves in professional and humanitarian endeavors. It’s a natural extension of the Alumnae Council’s mission of “women helping women pursue higher education at the University of Michigan since 1917.” These outstanding alumnae are examples of accomplished women in fields that may be considered difficult or inaccessible for young female students; they’re asked to return to campus to engage with students and the wider university community.

Past Athena Award recipients – representing such fields as the sciences, government, education, and law include foreign affairs analyst and journalist Robin Wright; former Surgeon General of the United States Antonia Novello; former editor of the Chicago Tribune Ann Marie Lipinski; ecologist and author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment, Sandra Steingraber; and Lorissa MacAllister, founder and President of Enviah (, a cutting edge research-based firm dedicated to building a new design approach for the healthcare industry.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha, is the Director of the Pediatric Residency Program at the Flint-based Hurley Medical Center.  She received her Bachelor of Science from University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment and Masters of Public Health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and her medical degree from Michigan State University's Flint-based College of Human Medicine. She was an assistant professor at Wayne State University's Department of Pediatrics and an Associate Director of the Children's Hospital of Michigan's Pediatric Residency Program prior to returning to Hurley. She currently directs the Michigan State University and Hurley Children's Hospital Public Health Initiative, an innovative and model public health program to research, monitor, and mitigate the impact of lead in Flint's drinking water.

The Royal Oak native has received numerous honors including:

  • Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People
  • The Crain's Detroit Business 100 Most Influential Women, Health Care Hero
  • The Michigan State Medical Society Public Health Leadership Award
  • The American Pediatric Association Michael Shannon Research Award
  • The Michigan State University Inspirational Woman of the Year Award
  • The PEN America Freedom of Expression Courage Award
  • The National Center for Health Research Health Policy Hero Award
  • The Chaldean Chamber of Commerce Humanitarian of the Year Award

The Alumnae Council is pleased that Dr. Hanna-Attisha joins the list of University of Michigan women whom it recognizes as making a difference in professional and humanitarian endeavors.



Athena Award Recipients

1973 Dr. Joan Goebel — Medicine

1974 Rafaelito Soriana — Government

1975 Clara Stanton Jones — Library Science

1976 Dr. Matina S. Honer — Education

1977 Dr. Mary Frances Berry — Education, Government Service

1978 Robin Wright — News Reporting

1979 Dr. Wu Yi-Fang — Education

1980 Dr. Marjorie Horning —Chemistry

1981 Barbara Nissman — Performing Arts

1982 Nancy Hays Teeters — Economics, Government Service

1983 Dr. Elise Boulding — Sociology

1984 Dr. Karen Uhlenbeck — Mathematics

1985 Dr. Paula J. Clayton — Psychiatry

1986 Nancy Landon Kassebaum — Politics

1987 Helen WIlson Nies — Law

1988 Jo Eleanor Elliott — Nursing

1989 Dr. Nancy Sabin Wexler — Neuropsychology

1990 Anne Stevenson

1991 Dr. Gwen Baker — Education

1992 Martha Rumayne Seger — Economist, Federal Reserve

1993 Antonia Novello — Surgeon General of the United States

1994 Ilse Lehiste — Linguistics

1995 Dr. Alexa Canaday — Medicine

1996 Ashley Putnam — Metropolitan Opera

1998 Dorothy Sampus — Foreign Service

2009 Ann Marie Lipinski — Journalism

2011 Sandra Steingraber — Ecology

2014 Lorissa MacAllister - Architecture