Kent Key

Kent Key
Location: Flint, Michigan Cohort Start Year: 2016 Project Topic: Environmental Justice Population Served: Urban Communities
Research Area Specialist
Community Based Organization Partners

The Flint Water Crisis was a man-made disaster that affected the citizens physically, mentally, financially and psychologically. Most of the focus has been on young children from a pediatric/clinical perspective. I envision the adoption and operationalizing of Health Equity in All Policies where all decisions passed through legislation will have to conduct a health impact assessment. I also envision a Flint Youth Public Health Academy to use the water crisis story as a platform to introduce youth to public health, research, health disparities and advocacy.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Flint Academy for Youth in Public Health
As an exploratory academy designed for Flint youth, especially those negatively affected by the Flint Water Crisis, the Flint Academy introduces urban inner-city youth to careers in public health, medicine, and research. Each of these disciplines have an active role in the recovery of Flint. The goal is to use the water crisis as a lived experience to provide early exposure to these careers, and through active engagement, demonstrate how these disciplines are critical to building a Culture of Health and overcoming environmental disaster. The Academy provides mentors, instructors, and volunteers who resemble the students ethnically and who will serve as local role models for the youth. Flint Academy consists of three domains: community assessment, learning academy, and policy/activism.

I was introduced to public health through my service in the AmeriCorps program. It was through Community Based Public Health programming that I began my career of Health Disparity and Community Engaged Research and Community Activism. Getting my start from a nontraditional public health track has given me a different lens and perspective on how to effectively use non-traditional approaches in public health. This has prepared me on several fronts to initiate, support and co-create efforts in Flint in response to the Flint Water Crisis.

Click here to watch Kent’s Legacy Project video.