Pre-registration has opened for a registry of Flint residents exposed to lead during the water crisis that has plagued the city.
Michigan State University is using federal funds to help establish the voluntary registry. It will connect people to programs designed to minimize health problems.
The East Lansing school on Monday announced the update about the registry, saying pre-enrollment may be done online. The school in August got $3.2 million -- the first installment of a four-year, $14.4 million grant -- from the Centers for Disease Control for the registry.
"It means I'm connected with the services. It means the information of my family can be a part of making Flint better," said Jennifer Johnson, Flint resident.
Health officials say exposure to the toxin can affect children's brain development.
In 2014 and 2015, Flint didn't properly treat corrosive water that was pulled from the Flint River. As a result, lead in old pipes contaminated the water.
Johnson was one of the first residents to sign up for the registry.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha teamed up with dozens of Michigan organizations to make it happen. She said the Flint registry will help shape the future of the kind of help that will be available in the city and it will promote wellness and recovery.
"People will log on to the website, Flintregistry.org and they can voluntarily register to be a part of the registry. No one is forced to do this. It is all by choice," Hanna-Attisha said.
The registry aims to help connect residents to resources.
Hanna-Attisha said the goal is to help people figure out which services they are eligible for and connect them.
"So there will be questions like do you have diabetes? Do you have this? How are your children? Do you have this? Are you signed up for WIC? We are trying to see how people are doing and what services they are already using," Hanna-Attisha said.
She said the information will be kept confidential and anyone affected by the lead pipes can sign up.
Johnson thinks this will help Flint heal a little quicker.
"I hope that we can work together. I hope we can start getting recognized for the strong, vibrant and passionate community that we are," Johnson said.
Congressman Dan Kildee issued the following statement on the opening of the registry:
“I am pleased to see this community resource become available for Flint families. The Flint Registry will help connect families affected by the water crisis with resources to help minimize the effects of lead exposure. In Congress, I fought alongside Senators Stabenow and Peters for federal aid to fund this registry, and I continue to advocate for additional resources to help Flint recover.
“This registry would not have been possible without the people of Flint standing together and demanding the resources they are entitled to. I want to thank Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Greater Flint Health Coalition, the city of Flint, Michigan State University and the Pediatric Public Health Initiative for their hard work to make this a reality.”
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