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Kids, teens could be feeling pandemic-related stress. Here's how parents can help

From the global pandemic to the divisive 2020 election, kids and teens are absorbing a lot of the same stress 2020 has brought adults; and what's worse, is that at a time when play dates or sleepovers are discouraged for public health reasons, kids might be needing that social outlet the most. Most organized youth sports are on hold right now, and many school districts in Michigan have moved fully remote due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. “During adolescence, this is a time when kids are really primed to want to explore their environment, to seek out new experiences. And being stuck at home with your parents isn’t really the best way to fulfill those developmental needs," said Hannah Schacter, an assistant professor of psychology at Wayne State. In the onset of the pandemic -- kids, especially teens, missed out on some key social milestones like prom, sporting events, and graduation. “And now suddenly you have moments of hope, of maybe it’s getting better and maybe we’re heading back there and then suddenly that’s shifting," Schacter said. Until Dec. 8, high school students statewide are learning remotely due to the an epidemic health order aimed at the slowing the spread of the virus. It's a move Schacter said could pose a greater problem for students who rely on in-school academic or social support. “It requires a greater sort of pro-activeness to seek out those services which is not always entirely possible in a virtual environment."
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Meet Michigan's incoming Supreme Court justice: Elizabeth Welch

Wayne State University professor Robert Sedler, an expert in constitutional law, said while Elizabeth Welch's election to the Michigan Supreme Court means there are more justices nominated by Democrats than Republicans, partisanship doesn't always determine how justices vote. He noted rulings where GOP-nominated justices David Viviano and Elizabeth Clement have sided with their Democratic-nominated colleagues. A notable exception, Sedler said, was the October ruling in which the court decided that a 1945 law that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer relied on for her emergency orders to combat COVID-19 was unconstitutional. The four GOP-nominated justices all ruled to void the law, sparking anger from Democrats. "It was not typical of the decisions coming from the court," Sedler said. "The court acted in a very partisan way." Sedler said while the court and the elections for justices are officially nonpartisan, he believes members keep their political support in mind. "You don't forget who brought you to the dance," he said.
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Wayne State University and Karmanos Cancer Institute to host two-day symposium focused on advancing health equity and the impact of COVID-19

Wayne State University and the Karmanos Cancer Institute will host the “Community-Engaged Research Symposium to Advance Health Equity: The Impact of Coronavirus Now and in the Future,” on Dec. 1 and 2. The virtual symposium is free and open to the public; registration is required and can be completed online. “This is our third annual symposium, and we are honored to take on the challenge of adapting it to the pandemic,” said Rhonda Dailey, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and public health sciences, and scientific director of the Office of Community Engaged Research at Wayne State University. “The virtual platform is a convenient way for academicians, community organizations and community members involved in community-based research to present their hard-earned work related to COVID-19. We hope that attendees will use the symposium to form new, lasting connections and partnerships.” Community-academic research partnerships are more important than ever, according to Hayley Thompson, Ph.D., professor of oncology in the Wayne State School of Medicine and associate center director for community outreach and engagement at Karmanos Cancer Institute. “Just like cancer, heart disease and a host of other conditions, the burden of COVID-19 is greater in communities of color, in under-resourced areas and among groups who are marginalized in other ways,” said Thompson. “If we want to generate data and knowledge that can make a difference, meaningful collaboration between these groups and academic researchers is essential. This symposium is one step toward real collaboration.”
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Michigan officials say no to big Thanksgiving gatherings. Who will listen?

Hospital leaders have pleaded. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has warned. Health officials have mandated, inspected and threatened fines. And a statistical model developed by Harvard researchers predicts nearly 1,000 COVID deaths a day in Michigan by year’s end if we can’t change the arc of the virus. But even as hospitalizations and deaths accelerate, will residents follow state pandemic restrictions — including limits on holiday gatherings — to help curb the spread of COVID-19? Public messaging on health risks is a “really challenging form of communication, and it's a lot easier to get it wrong than it is to get it right,” said Matt Seeger, dean of Wayne State University’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts and an expert in crisis communications. “It's difficult to get people's attention around risk issues. Consider how long we've been trying to convince people to stop smoking,” he said. Mixed messages, politics — and an evolving understanding of the coronavirus — have complicated the task. Seeger said a one-size-fits-all message is unlikely to work, and may backfire when it’s delivered by the government. 
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The do’s and don’ts to celebrating Thanksgiving safely in 2020

COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing across the country, including here in Michigan. The healthcare system is once again overwhelmed, with some hospitals nearing capacity. This fact is complicated by the impending holiday season. Families are assessing the safety of their typical celebratory gatherings and discussing how to adapt. Public health officials say these small gatherings are dangerous at this stage in the pandemic. Dr. Paul Kilgore is an associate professor and director of research at Wayne State University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He is also the principal investigator at Henry Ford Health System’s novel coronavirus vaccine trial. Kilgore spoke with Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today about how to keep safe during the holidays. “With more extended family gatherings, there’s always a risk of transmission…there is a chance that there could be someone there who is asymptomatic who could spread (COVID-19).” Do keep in mind that the virus travels differently indoors and in cooler air. “We know as people come indoors and as the proximity of individuals becomes closer, it’s much easier for the droplets… to move from one person to another,” says Kilgore. He adds, “In the wintertime with the lower humidity… the respiratory droplets can travel farther than they would in the warmer summer months when there is higher humidity.”
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3 reasons for information exhaustion – and what to do about it

Mark Satta, assistant professor of philosophy, penned an article for The Conversation about epistemic exhaustion.“An endless flow of information is coming at us constantly: It might be an article a friend shared on Facebook with a sensational headline or wrong information about the spread of the coronavirus. It could even be a call from a relative wanting to talk about a political issue. All this information may leave many of us feeling as though we have no energy to engage. As a philosopher who studies knowledge-sharing practices, I call this experience “epistemic exhaustion.” The term “epistemic” comes from the Greek word episteme, often translated as “knowledge.” So epistemic exhaustion is more of a knowledge-related exhaustion. It is not knowledge itself that tires out many of us. Rather, it is the process of trying to gain or share knowledge under challenging circumstances.”
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Trials underway in Detroit for potential Covid antibody treatment

With the recent uptick in cases of COVID-19 in Michigan and throughout much of the country, Detroit Today’s coverage about this moment of the pandemic is a top priority. There’s reason to be at least cautiously hopeful about the recent news of potential vaccines for the virus, but there’s still a real need for continued research for alternative treatments. One such effort involves the use of convalescent blood plasma through trials being led locally by Wayne State University and Johns Hopkins researchers. Dr. James Paxton is the leader of the Detroit branch of the trial. He’s also the Director of Clinical Research for Detroit Receiving Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine, and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He explains that convalescent blood plasma therapy is really just using antibodies found in the blood of people who have previously had COVID-19. ”Antibodies are essential to fighting any infection… and your body retains the antibodies so that it can remember how it defeated [the virus] before in case it needs to defeat it again in the future.” Paxton says that his work at the Detroit trial site involves matching processed plasma with those who need to receive it. “We think it will work,” he says of the plasma transfusion pointing to the history of this kind of medical intervention.
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A new pilot program at Wayne State looks to shore up an often overlooked part of education - financial literacy

The Craig Fahle Show featured guests Matthew Roling, founding executive director of Wayne State’s Office of Business Innovation, and Julie Hollinshead, adjunct faculty member of the Finance Department at the Mike Ilitch School of Business. The two are responsible for the launch of a new pilot program, the WSU Financial Capability Center. It is designed to give students access to financial tools and qualified individuals who can support, guide and enable them to organize and stabilize their lives financially and get on the road to financial security. 
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CBD sales soaring, but evidence still slim that the cannabis derivative makes a difference for anxiety or pain

Hilary A. Murasak, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine, wrote an article for The Conversation on the rise of CBD usage during the pandemic. “Many people have turned to cannabis and its derivatives as they search for pandemic relief, and one of the most widely available ones is CBD. It is also legal and readily available. You can buy oils, tinctures, capsules, gummies, cosmetics and even toilet paper said to contain the molecule. Martha Stewart has a line of CBD products, and some companies are marketing CBD products for holiday gifts. And, you can even buy CBD products for your pet. An investment bank has estimated that this market will be worth $16 billion by 2025, even though many of the products that allegedly contain CBD may not contain any CBD all. And, if they do, the amount often is far less than the amount stated on the product bottle or box.”
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Tackling hunger and homelessness on campus

Many months into the pandemic, we have witnessed extraordinary economic disruption and devastation. The effects have been far-reaching and prolonged, including across higher education. On four-year college campuses, recent survey data suggests that 15 percent of students are facing homelessness due to the pandemic and 38 percent of students are experiencing food insecurity. Imagine trying to focus on school when you’re not sure where you’ll find your next meal or even if you’ll have a safe place to sleep at night. Sadly, these aren’t academic questions for millions of students. They’re an everyday reality. Yet as we take stock of the pandemic’s extraordinary toll, we’re also reminded that hunger and homelessness are challenges not just in this moment but every moment. That’s why this week we recognize National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week: to spotlight the scale of the need, identify possible solutions, and marshal public support to solve these long-standing societal challenges. Public universities also see a crucial role to play in addressing student hunger and food insecurity. To help address homelessness, Wayne State University has helped precariously housed students find housing during the pandemic through a long-running program. The university’s Helping Individuals Go Higher Program started in 2013 with the aim of helping homeless and precariously housed students persist in their studies by providing financial support and other resources.
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Virtual Michigan Accelerate Computer Science event looks to break world record

Coding rookies, programming enthusiasts, and computer scientists of all ages are invited to join together virtually to make history in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record during the Michigan Accelerate Computer Science event Dec. 11-12, sponsored by Wayne State University. Created for K-12 students, this event welcomes adult participants and volunteers who will receive a free, 30-minute computer programming lesson. Attendees will have the same 24 hours to log in and complete the coding lesson, in an attempt to set the official record for the most users to take an online computer programming lesson within 24 hours. The 24-hour window for this official world record attempt starts at 8 a.m. on Dec. 11 and ends at 8 a.m. on Dec. 12. The virtual event, which takes place during Computer Science Education Week, is designed to help participants learn or refresh JavaScript programming language using the online app builder called Bitsbox.
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Want a COVID test for your Michigan Thanksgiving? Expect… to… wait

Michiganders trying to get tested for COVID before seeing loved ones at Thanksgiving might find that a collective rush on testing labs will make that impossible. And if you are lucky enough to get tested, well, expect… to … wait for your results. Though Michigan doesn’t track turnaround times, it appears that roughly two weeks before the holiday it’s already taking three to five days for test results, said Lynn Sutfin, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The state’s testing capacity is being overwhelmed as the virus spreads “out of control,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive and deputy director of MDHHS, noted at a media briefing Thursday. Testing demand has soared as the number of coronavirus cases in the state has spiked and the percentage of tests coming back positive has risen to roughly 14 percent. Testing also has increased in recent weeks at Wayne State University, as cases surged around the state — “and that’s a good thing,” said Laurie Lauzon Clabo, dean of the college of nursing. The school, which does 750 to 800 tests weekly now, is largely a commuter university, so it doesn’t face the same pressure as other universities to step up testing before Thanksgiving break since many of those students already live at home or are with their families, she said. But it will be important for the 1,350 or so students living on campus or who, for example, perform lab work, to be tested after the holiday. “There are tough days ahead,” she said.

WSU digs Hamtramck again; signs pact with museum

Wayne State University students are wrapping up part two of their archaeological dig in Hamtramck. Two years ago, the students did the first phase of their project: digging into the history of the site of the old Village Hall on Jos. Campau, between Grayling and Alice streets. The second dig began in August, and wrapped up this week. Village Hall was built in 1914, and also housed the village fire department and police station. Working under the direction of WSU anthropology professor Krysta Ryzewski, the students have collected an assortment of items from the site of Village Hall, as well as about 17 other buildings that occupied the area over the years. The goal of the class, Ryzewski said, is to interpret the items to learn about the lives of the people, mainly immigrants, who lived and worked there for more than a century. “We’re looking to uncover the unwritten history that tells us about the rise of Hamtramck in the early 20th century,” Ryzewski said. This second dig was held because the previous one was so successful. In fact, aside from revealing information about the past, the experience led Wayne State University to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hamtramck Historical Museum, to cooperate on future projects. The official signing saw Stephanie Hartwell, dean of the WSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Museum Executive Director Greg Kowalski each signing the document. This agreement provides that the museum will offer internships to students, invite WSU researchers to participate in a variety of projects in conjunction with the museum, host guest lecturers from WSU, participate in joint grant writing opportunities, and publicize the joint ventures. In return, WSU will recruit students to do internships at the museum, provide faculty consultation to assist with projects, help identify grant sources, invite museum staff to lecture at the university, and share digital media and library resources with the museum.  
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Opinion: What we can learn from COVID-19 supply chain issues

Hakan Yildiz and Tingting Yan, both associate professors of global supply chain management at the Mike Ilitch School of Business with Wayne State University, wrote an op-ed regarding COVID-19 supply chain issues. “Global supply chains have been hit hard by COVID-19. The automotive industry is among the primary industries that experienced major disruptions and Michigan felt the economic devastation with record unemployment rates. As supply chain academics, we have been conducting research to understand the impacts of the pandemic to supply chains, how companies have responded and what they should do. In partnership with the Automotive Industry Action Group and QAD, we have conducted a multi-industry, multi-country survey. We have also conducted interviews with professionals and participated in innovation-incubating hackathons.”
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Michigan colleges sending students home early, beef up remote learning as COVID-19 spreads

Some Michigan college students will be home early for Thanksgiving, but not just for some rest and relaxation. At least two private colleges — Albion and Alma — are allowing students to leave for home this weekend, earlier than scheduled. Oakland University is switching to remote instruction for all but a small subset of classes. The University of Michigan has canceled all housing contracts for next semester and is beefing up the percentage of classes offered remotely and Grand Valley State University students are being told to practice "enhanced safety measures. All the moves come as colleges and universities struggle with how to provide instruction and the college experience to their students in the ever-changing pandemic world of 2020. Wayne State University was nearly 100% remote already, but has students living in residence halls.  The school will keep living facilities  and related services running over the Thanksgiving break and is inviting students to stay on campus  to finish out the semester. President M. Roy Wilson, a medical doctor, said he's worried about the rise in cases across the state and nation. "My concern is things are going in the wrong direction," he said. Wilson, who had taken some time off from delivering weekly video updates to the campus community, returned earlier this week with a message trying to drive home safety practices. "We don't want to get to the point where we trigger" various metrics requiring changes, he said. Wilson was part of a call at the beginning of the week with various higher education leaders and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The call was an opportunity to talk about approaches and for Whitmer to get the various leaders' support for directives coming out of the state Capitol. "Absent any aggressive measures to stem the growth ... we're going to be up to some ungodly numbers," Wilson said. Instead of an annual Thanksgiving dinner Wilson and his wife normally host for 40 or 50 students on campus, Wilson's going to help hand out Thanksgiving boxed dinners. When those students who choose to leave campus return, they will undergo testing. Then, all students will be tested again in a rolling 10-day period. "We've been doing very well with the number of cases on campus," Wilson said, adding the testing is in hopes of catching anything coming back.
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Amy Coney Barrett sizes up 30-year-old precedent balancing religious freedom with rule of law

Mark Satta, assistant professor of philosophy, wrote a piece for The Conversation on religious freedom with the rule of law balance. “Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s first week as an active Supreme Court justice began on Nov. 2 and almost immediately included a case that could test her credentials as a religious conservative. On the surface, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which was argued in front of the court on Nov. 4, concerns whether the state can require organizations it partners with to accept same-sex couples as foster parents. But underneath are questions about how Barrett and her fellow justices will deal with a decades-old Supreme Court ruling that could have wider implications for religious liberty cases. The case in front of the justices concerns how Philadelphia partners with private organizations – both religious and secular – to find homes for children in foster care. In 2018, Philadelphia learned that two organizations, Catholic Social Services and Bethany Christian Services, had religiously motivated policies against placing children with same-sex couples in violation of Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance.”

WSU and others partner to provide healthcare digital devices to low-income seniors

Connect 313 recently announced it has begun the distribution of tablets, digital training and tech-enabled healthcare services to thousands of low-income seniors throughout Southeastern Michigan. This effort, called “Connecting Seniors,” is made possible through the Connect 313 Fund and by a generous grant of $3.9 million from the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities Rapid Response Initiative. This is the first initiative to come from Connect 313 and is emblematic of the organization’s collaborative, community-driven model of investment, which brings countless organizations together to ensure all Detroiters can access the digital world and the opportunity it brings. Connect 313 will coordinate the distribution of devices and digital resources with the support of partners including the city of Detroit, Focus: HOPE, Wayne State University, human-I-T, Microsoft + Accenture, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and the Rocket Community Fund (formerly Quicken Loans Community Fund). Wayne State University will provide a holistic suite of clinical and other health-related services including testing, counseling and mental healthcare. This includes an application that bundles existing Microsoft + Accenture telehealth and COVID-19 solutions to the University’s suite of services. Services will be coordinated from Wayne State’s Schools of Medicine, College of Nursing, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, School of Social Work and Institute of Gerontology.
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Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is promising, but experts urge patience

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced this week that their vaccine trial is more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, based on early data. That’s far above the standard set by the Food and Drug Administration, which set the bar at 50% effectiveness for emergency use. This is the first vaccine for the novel coronavirus to exceed the mark, raising hopes that a return to relative normality could be on the horizon. Experts, while optimistic about the development, urge caution as COVID-19 cases surge across the county, and widespread distribution of any vaccine is still months away. Dr. Teena Chopra, professor of internal medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Wayne State University School of Medicine says the new development in the quest for a vaccine is very encouraging. “It’s a testament to how quickly research is moving,” says Chopra of Pfizer’s vaccine trial. Manufacturing a potential vaccine will be another hurdle, something Chopra says Pfizer is already tackling. “Pfizer applied for an emergency use authorization… and claims they have started manufacturing millions of doses.” After manufacturing comes the widespread distribution of a vaccine, another challenge for pharmaceutical companies. This particular vaccine needs to be refrigerated and stored at a very cold temperature, complicating the task. According to Chopra, distribution will rely on collaboration. “We don’t just need one kind of vaccine… that’s not enough to be distributed globally. We need tons, we will look at all the vaccines… there should be heavy emphasis on the data.”
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TRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing awards $270,000 to Wayne State

The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing at Wayne State University recently awarded a combined $270,000 in funding to three transformative innovation research projects led by Wayne State researchers. These projects aim to tackle deep technology opportunities in high impact sectors, such as artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning, augmented reality (AR) and intelligent automation. The three Wayne State projects funded by the hub focused on transformational innovations that have the potential to bring disruptive solutions to the market in their respective fields. Wayne State’s Office of the Vice President of Research and Technology Commercialization office have been instrumental in advancing the early-stage technologies derived from the research enterprise toward commercialization. Under the leadership of Joan Dunbar, associate vice president for Technology Commercialization, their operations have leveraged an ecosystem of funding, mentoring and connections to industry experts to provide comprehensive support to address the cultural, technological and financial challenges associated with the translation of innovative early-stage technologies from academia to the marketplace. “We are extremely excited to have the commitment of a world-class oversight committee to guide the development and application of these research-derived innovations,” said Dunbar. “The funding and mentorship provided by the MTRAC program are key to achieving milestones toward ultimate commercialization of the projects and societal impact. The support of the MEDC is critical to these programs."

Should plea bargaining include the right to confront witnesses?

In a criminal justice system centered around the plea bargain, the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause should apply to plea bargains as well as trials, according to a forthcoming essay in the Columbia Law Review. “A defendant’s trial rights come bundled—he must take them all, by going to trial, or leave them all, by pleading guilty,” wrote William Ortman, an assistant professor at the Wayne State University School of Law. The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment grants defendants the right to question witnesses testifying against them, but the clause has only been interpreted to apply to defendants who proceed to a trial. In his paper, titled Confrontation in the Age of Plea Bargaining, Ortman argued this is severely restricting in the United States, where only 5 percent of cases end up going to trial. Some 97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end are resolved with a guilty plea negotiated before a trial is ever held. “There is no good reason to design a rule that accomplishes its mission in a small fraction of the cases and leaves the others untouched,” Ortman wrote. Ortman proposed that instead of only applying to trials, the limitation of the Confrontation Clause be changed to apply to “critical adjudication.” Trials would fall into this category, as would plea bargaining. Preliminary and pretrial hearings would not.