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Detroit's infant mortality rate made a historic drop. Here's why

Detroit's infant mortality rate — once highest in the nation, exceeding many Third World countries — achieved a historic drop in 2019, helping Michigan achieve its lowest infant mortality rate in more than 100 years, according to state health officials. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan noted programs, such as Make Your Date, a collaboration between the city and Wayne State University, and prenatal programs run by Henry Ford Health Center and Ascension St. John Hospital as well as community organizations such as the Black Mothers Breast Feeding Association. Infant mortality is considered the death of an infant before reaching the age of 1. Causes of infant mortality included birth defects, preterm or premature birth, maternal pregnancy complications, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and injuries like suffocation. The greatest cause of infant mortality is premature birth, said Dr. Sonia Hassan, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine who co-founded Wayne State University's Make Your Date program with Duggan in 2014. "It's amazing and great news," said Hassan of Detroit's reduction in infant mortality. "The reduction was for 2018 to 2019, but for years before that, there was a real big focus in the city by many groups on infant mortality — and it really made a difference. "Our program had high volume enrollment and others did too during that time. We were able to partner with the city on the transportation piece. So we were able to get a lot of people to services that they needed." Make Your Date, Henry Ford Health System, Ascension Health, the March of Dimes and numerous other partners focused on moving the needle, she said. "All of those people collectively as a group really were focused on infant mortality," she said. 
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MDMA may help treat PTSD – but beware of claims that Ecstasy is a magic bullet

Dr. Arash Javanbakht, associate professor of psychiatry, wrote an article for The Conversation. “Recent clinical trials, including one soon to be published in Nature Medicine, have suggested that MDMA combined with psychotherapy may help treat post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The news generated considerable optimism and excitement in the media, and some in the scientific community. As a psychiatrist and an expert in neurobiology and treatment of PTSD, I think these developments may be important – but not the major breakthrough that some people are suggesting. This approach is not a new magic bullet.
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17 teachers at Detroit school: Instead of Teacher Appreciation gifts, help us buy supplies

The Elliottorian Business and Professional Women's Club is the first club of Black business women in Detroit and Michigan and was founded in 1928. Throughout its history, awarding scholarships has been a staple of the organization’s public-service initiatives, with many scholarships awarded to students that have attended and graduated from Wayne State University. The organization’s connection to Wayne State includes former New Detroit President and CEO Shirley Coleman Stancato, who received a scholarship to Wayne State University from the Elliottorians after graduating from Cass Tech. Today, Stancato is a member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors.
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Michigan stocks soared as the economy stumbled – one jumped 76%

While the world is trying to crawl out of a pandemic recession, the stock market is doing just fine. Michigan is no outlier, as 14 of Michigan’s 16 public Fortune 500 companies have seen gains in share price since the start of 2020. “The broader economy might not have had a V-shaped recovery, but the stock market bounced back very quickly last April and May and even more so this fall,” said Matthew Roling, Wayne State adjunct business professor. “The market tanked last March and then it just climbed right out.” How can the stock market thrive when the rest of America stumbles? Because of three factors, Roling said: Stimulus, interest rates and Robinhood.
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‘Bullwhip' hits supply chains as missing links reverberate for months in flow of goods

From lumber to cheese to bath bombs to auto parts, shortages abound as the world's producers, distributors and retailers can't accurately match supply to demand. The result is empty shelves and skyrocketing prices ... with no end in sight. The fundamental issue behind each of these disruptions stems from the immediate impact of the pandemic. As stay-home orders landed across the globe and factories shut down, orders dried up in anticipation of a drawn-out recession. But it didn't play out like that. For instance, demand shifted from restaurants to grocery stores — remember the great toilet paper shortage of 2020? — and government stimulus buoyed, and sometimes boosted, consumer spending. The auto industry's ongoing semiconductor conundrum is a blueprint on how improperly assessing future demand can reverberate through the supply chain. For Zingerman's, the story is of similar dynamics. Cheese production slammed to a halt as Italy and Spain and other parts of Europe battled the virus last spring, followed by mandatory store closures in the U.S. Orders dried up, cheese spoiled, distributors docked their ships. But demand never faltered and as the industry came back on line, it's battled to play catch-up. To meet demand, purveyors ordered more imported cheese than necessary. This leads to even greater shortages from producers and distributors. So if a retailer can't get access to a wheel of imported Fleur de Marquis now, it may order more than normal when it is available to ensure it doesn't run out of stock in the future. This is called the bullwhip effect, said John Taylor, associate professor of global supply chain management and chair of the department of marketing and supply chain management at Wayne State University. "Companies are having difficulty figuring out what their customers' real demand is and are putting a lot of extra orders into the system," Taylor said. "Everyone is hedging their bets. This all leads to a lack of clarity what the demand signal really is. When you get a bullwhip, things begin to see out of stock conditions and then overflowing inventory. Industries are gyrating from having not enough product to having too much."
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Birmingham and the national planning trends

As Americans live longer and healthier, as today's youth may take longer to launch, as couples have fewer children, if they choose to have any at all – what are these demographic realizations portending for land use and urban planning? If people can live anywhere, how do city leaders permit housing options to retain and grow the population while maintaining values and encourage diversity? “Single family zoning was designed to protect single family property values from uses that were less desirable – and they explicitly called out 'less desirable' uses, including apartments, and oftentimes the underlying motivation was trying to keep white neighborhoods white,” said Carolyn Loh, associate professor, urban studies and planning, Wayne State University. “Today, some people are saying that is the reason single family zoning shouldn't exist – but it shouldn't be the only housing choice. For example, in order to live in a town with a good school district, renting or owning, that's your ticket to the community. Higher density (than single family) allows you to split the cost of the ticket. It doesn't mean low income – it means a lower income. A duplex can provide that.”
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AHA News: Is all exercise equal? How to balance workouts to create the ideal fitness plan

While any regular physical activity can benefit your health, the ideal fitness plan requires the right balance. The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination of both; plus muscle-strengthening activity, such as resistance training, at least two days per week. "Aerobic exercise should be the foundation of any exercise program," said Barry Franklin, director of preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, and professor of physiology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Doctors may suggest a medically supervised treadmill test to evaluate how a person's heart rate, blood pressure and heart rhythm respond to progressive levels of exercise, as well as their level of heart-lung fitness expressed as metabolic equivalents, or METs. Franklin calls METs the "currency of exercise." They are used to quantify one's aerobic fitness in order to recommend the appropriate level of activity.
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Troy’s Skypersonic drone company acquired by Florida’s Red Cat

Troy-based Skypersonic Inc., a drone and software company that began as a startup affiliated with the James and Patricia Anderson Engineering Ventures Institute at Wayne State University, announced it signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Red Cat Holdings in Florida, a drone technology company. Skypersonic produces unmanned aerial vehicles and navigation systems to enable inspection services in industrial spaces that lack GPS access or are restrictive, impractical, or dangerous for human inspection. Its technologies include Skycopter, a miniature drone encased in a spherical frame, and a trans-continental remote piloting platform, a software suite that enables the drone to record and transmit telemetry data while being operated from anywhere in real time. Wayne State has made an investment in Skypersonic of $350,000 over the last three years and is the company’s second-largest investor and only university investor. Skypersonic announced earlier this year it completed a flight in Detroit that was controlled from Florida in a partnership between Skypersonic and Red Cat.
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Airbnb hosts, Uber drivers and waiters who are more politically conservative get slightly higher ratings and tips

Alexander Davidson, assistant professor of marketing, wrote an article for The Conversation. “Customers give higher ratings and tips to politically conservative Airbnb hosts, Uber drivers and waiters than to ones with more liberal leanings, according to new peer-reviewed research I co-authored. That’s despite evidence we found that consumers may actually expect the opposite. To reach the first conclusion, a colleague and I conducted four different studies. The first involved poring over about 50,000 Airbnb listings in 16 U.S. cities. We examined average ratings and compared them with the percentage of Republican voters in the city, based on recent elections. We found that Airbnb hosts in cities with a greater share of Republican voters tended to have higher ratings. Specifically, an increase of one percentage point in a city’s proportion of Republicans correlated with a 0.12 increase in its average Airbnb rating. While that may seem small, Airbnb ratings are often quite high, which means a small change can be significant.”
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Census shows Michigan grows, still loses U.S. House seat

Michigan’s slow population growth over the past decade will cost the state a U.S. House seat, continuing a decades-long trend as job-seekers and retirees have fled to other states. The U.S. Census Bureau listed the state’s 2020 apportionment population at 10,084,442, leaving Michigan with 13 congressional seats. Michigan’s population grew for decades, from 7.8 million in 1960 to more than 9.9 million in 2000. It recorded a slight decline in the census 10 years ago, to 9.8 million. Over time, its congressional seats have been peeled off little by little by faster-growing states, mostly in the Sunbelt. “Those congressional districts are equal to political power in Washington,” said Timothy Bledsoe, professor of political science at Wayne State University in Detroit. “When it leaves Michigan and goes to Texas, it is a reflection of the loss of political power in Michigan and gain of political power that goes to Texas.” Dropping from 14 House seats to 13 also will mean the boundaries of some districts will have to change. But the job of drawing those districts will no longer be in the hands of the Legislature, which is controlled by Republicans.
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Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson aiming for a 90% campus vaccination rate

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases throughout Michigan has dampened hopes of a prompt return to normalcy. Schools and universities are once again having to navigate reopening plans for the fall as the state endures significant community spread. Some universities in Metro Detroit, including Oakland University, have announced that they will require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated before returning to campus. M. Roy Wilson is the President of Wayne State University. He says that Michigan was once seen as a leader in managing the racial disparities present in the spread of COVID-19. Now, he says, that progress has dramatically diminished. “Michigan really was a model early on in terms of what can be done … in terms of deaths and racial disparity. … Obviously, the overall situation has really deteriorated … it hasn’t gone back to as bad as early days … but it’s disappointing,” says Wilson on the disparate outcomes of COVID-19. With the benefit of hindsight, Wilson says while he wouldn’t enact a complete state shutdown at this point, perhaps he wouldn’t have opened the state back up when the governor did. On the criticism Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing, Wilson says it’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback. “It’s easy to pick one or two things and say this is the cause … overall, I think the governor has done a good job,” says Wilson. As for Wayne State University, Wilson says he hopes incentives will encourage more students and staff to get vaccinated before the fall. He adds that to open safely, a large majority of the campus must be vaccinated. “We may be heading into a mandate … I don’t want to jump into that, but it’s a possibility for the fall … right now, I’d like to try to do anything possible to not issue a mandate. … I’d like to see about a 90% campus vaccination rate,” says Wilson on a potential vaccine mandate for the fall.
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COVID-19 pandemic causing increase in nursing & medical school applicants

We’ve spent more than a year battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and doctors and nurses are among the heroes on the front line every day. The U.S. will need nearly 140,000 doctors by 2033 and around 500,000 nurses by 2030. Thankfully, the determination we’ve seen during the pandemic is inspiring an explosion of interest and applications for nursing schools and medical schools across the country and right here in metro Detroit. That sense of commitment and desire to help others is what schools are looking for in future doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. "I think most people are good at heart and they want to make a difference," Wayne State School of Medicine Dean Dr. Mark Schweitzer said. He said you can make that difference with these professions but you also get a reward. "To have a profession where you go home every night and you said that I helped patients X, Y and Z today is a righteous thing to do," he added. Wayne State’s medical school received 1,000 additional applications - up 10%. But the school can only increase the size of the class by 3%. The size of medical schools is regulated by their accrediting body, and there are only so many clinical spots for med school students and nursing students. Schweitzer says it would be easy to fill up an incoming med school with people with perfect GPAs and from the right zip codes. He says Wayne State’s mission is to train people who might not be able to get that training elsewhere.
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Wayne State students who show proof of COVID vaccine will get money added to campus card

Wayne State University is offering a monetary incentive to students who receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Students who show proof of immunization will get a $10 credit added to their OneCard, the university announced. The credit can be used for Grubhub or used on campus. "As we announced last month, we expect the majority of our fall classes to be offered in person. There is nothing we would like more. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 numbers in Michigan are currently at an unacceptably high level," said President M. Roy Wilson. "The best way to ensure a return to campus in September is to get a vaccination if you haven’t yet done so."
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Examining racism and race relations in wake of Chauvin conviction

The death of George Floyd and the conviction of Derek Chauvin have prompted serious discussions about racism and relations between the African American community and police. We're talking about it in tonight's 7 UpFront segment with Wayne State University Political Science Professor Ron Brown. "I was happy because I thought about myself, my two sons, and my one grandson who've all been stopped by the police," Brown says. "I'm hoping all Americans realize that we should have a fair procedural structure of justice so that no one feels like a stranger. So I was very, very happy with the outcome."
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Do you really need 8 glasses of water a day? An exercise scientist explains why your kidneys say ‘no’

Tamara Hew-Butler, associate professor of exercise and sports science, wrote an article for The Conversation on the health risks associated with overhydration. “The warmer weather and longer days have inspired reminders to “stay hydrated” and drink eight glasses of water – or about two liters – a day. Not to burst anyone’s water bottle, but healthy people can actually die from drinking too much water. I am an exercise physiologist, and my research focuses on overhydration and how drinking too much water affects the body. Since water – and sodium – balance is essential to life, it is extremely rare for people to die from drinking too much – or too little – fluid. In most cases, your body’s finely tuned molecular processes are unconsciously taking care of you.”
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Wayne State University offers students money to get COVID-19 vaccine

Wayne State University is dangling some free money as an incentive to get students to get vaccinated. The offer from the midtown Detroit school is simple — upload proof of vaccination by May 7 and get $10 added to their student accounts. The proof has to show students have had at least their first shot, if they are getting a two-dose vaccination. The money can be used right away for Grubhub orders or saved to be used on campus in the fall. The vaccination can take place through the university's campus health center or anywhere else. University President M. Roy Wilson outlined the move in an email to students Wednesday morning. "As we announced last month, we expect the majority of our fall classes to be offered in person," Wilson wrote. "There is nothing we would like more. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 numbers in Michigan are currently at an unacceptably high level. The best way to ensure a return to campus in September is to get a vaccination if you haven’t yet done so. To further encourage you to take this critical step, we are providing an extra incentive — although the best incentive is your good health. In addition to getting vaccinated, please continue to take the appropriate precautions to ensure the health and safety of yourselves, our campus and the community. Thank you for doing your part to help keep our campus Warrior Strong."
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Wayne State plans 2022 celebration for grads who missed in-person commencement ceremony

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson knows now isn't the time to have an in-person graduation, but he hasn't stopped thinking about what it could look like when the Detroit university can once again offer one. Increasingly, his thoughts have gone back a couple of decades to a 1995 ceremony he visited in post-apartheid South Africa. "It's one of those graduations I'll never forget," Wilson recently told the Free Press. He's now tasked the Wayne State staff to come up with some sort of grand celebration for the graduates who, because of COVID-19, didn't get an in-person ceremony in the spring of 2020 and December 2020 and won't get one this spring either. While no official date has been set, the school is planning on something in April 2022. School officials hope to attract a big name speaker and are working to figure out other details. The school is still planning a virtual ceremony this spring for the class of 2021, just like it did for other classes affected by COVID-19. "I have no idea what the level of interest will be, but we wanted to offer something special," Wilson said. The university didn't want to tack the ceremony on to ceremonies for 2021-2022 school year graduates. "We want something separate from next May," Wilson said. "We don't want to take away from special days for anyone. They each deserve their own day." The 1995 University of Natal ceremony Wilson attended in South Africa was billed as a reconciliation ceremony for all the Black students who had graduated but hadn't had a ceremony, because of the apartheid of the time in South Africa. "All of these students from the past four or five decades were invited," Wilson said. Various dignitaries gave speeches, including some of the most powerful speeches Wilson has ever heard. Wayne State officials believe about 10,000 graduates will have missed an in-person commencement ceremony because of the pandemic.
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100 days without Trump on Twitter: A nation scrolls more calmly

Seth Norrholm, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Wayne State University School of Medicine and an expert on post-traumatic stress, said that Twitter had offered Mr. Trump a round-the-clock forum to express his contempt and anger, a direct channel from his id to the internet. Every time he used all-caps, Professor Norrholm said, it was as if “an abuser was shouting demeaning statements” at the American people. Although “out of sight, out of mind really works well for a lot of people in helping them to move forward,” he continued, Mr. Trump has refused to go away quietly. Indeed, he has set up a sort of presidential office in exile at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort, emerging intermittently to issue statements on quasi-presidential letterhead and to heap derision on Republicans he deems insufficiently loyal. “It’s as if you’re in a new relationship with the current administration, but every now and then the ex-partner pops up to remind you that ‘I’m still here’ — that he hasn’t disappeared entirely and is living in the basement,” Professor Norrholm said. “What’s going to happen over the next couple of years is that you will hear rumbles from the basement. We don’t know whether he’ll emerge or not, or whether it’s just some guy in the basement making some noise.”

What other states can learn from Michigan about serving adult students

Free tuition isn't the only tool states and colleges can use to remove financial barriers for adult students. In Michigan, a patchwork of schools is hoping to bring back students who left without completing a credential by forgiving some of their debt. Wayne State University, where one in five students is age 25 or older, has been spearheading the effort. In 2018, it launched the Warrior Way Back program, which forgives students one-third of their balance to the institution of up to $1,500 total for each semester they successfully complete, for up to three semesters. Students are eligible for the program if they haven't attended Wayne State for at least two years and have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher. Because federal financial aid cannot be used for past-due balances, the program removed a major obstacle for students who accumulated debt, said Dawn Medley, Wayne State's associate vice president for enrollment management. "It wasn't that they were out of financial aid or didn't have means to pay, it's just they couldn't come up with a chunk out of pocket to clear that past balance," Medley said. "We know time is money, and especially for adult students."