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DTE Energy Foundation awards $100k to Wayne State’s Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies

The DTE Energy Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Wayne State University Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies to support its Summer Enrichment Program (SEP). Designed to improve retention and graduation rates, SEP is a college-readiness program that helps incoming first-generation and underrepresented college students acquire the key “hard” and “soft” skills needed to smoothly transition to rigorous university-level coursework. Structured as an intensive, eight-week immersion in mathematics, English composition, oral communications and cultural studies, the SEP courses and complementary learning exercises are widely regarded as pivotal to a successful academic experience. The grant, which will enable the center to continue to offer SEP over the next four years, greatly advances the university’s strategic plans to recruit, retain and graduate a diverse pool of students who will become leaders in their professions and in local communities. The program has a demonstrated record of laying a solid foundation for their competitive performance in a wide array of courses, especially those in the STEM fields. “We are grateful for the vote of confidence that the foundation has deposited on our organization’s ability to continue to assist students pursuing a cutting-edge academic degree at Wayne State University,” said Jorge L. Chinea, director of the center.
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Wayne State looks to ‘reboot’ urban pediatrics program

Wayne State University has created a new practice plan called Wayne Pediatrics, according to Dr. Herman Gray, chair of the new Wayne Pediatrics department. Gray says the department is taking advantage of this opportunity to reimagine how care is delivered to children and their families in an urban setting. As part of that effort, Wayne Pediatrics has created the Urban Children’s Health Collaborative, an initiative to connect urban kids with better health care. Gray also talked about the wider health care disparities that exist, both in Detroit and around the country. “Certainly, poverty and racism are pretty much universally acknowledged as the foundational components of societal disparities,” says Gray. “We believe that being minimized, being disrespected, being uncertain of your place in society induces toxic stress.”
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Wayne State’s urban innovation district near New Center takes shape

Ever since a working group convened to discuss the matter in 2014, Wayne State University has been working to create an “Innovation District” near New Center. Those plans finally seem to be coming together. Last year, the university purchased the NextEnergy Center, now called the Industry Innovation Center (I2C), on Burroughs Street across from TechTown Detroit. Those three partners have teamed up to create Detroit Urban Solutions, which is taking a multidisciplinary approach to address issues facing cities. One block away, Wayne State opened the Integrative Biosciences Center (IBio) in 2015, which similarly takes a multidisciplinary approach to health research. TechTown was founded by Wayne State in 2000, and though it has since become an independent nonprofit, still works in close partnership with the university’s Office of Economic Development. Wayne State has also begun to release details of its master plan, and Emily Thompson, place-based initiatives manager at WSU’s Office of Economic Development, says this redesign aligns with the aims of that plan. “One goal of the master plan was to create better north-south connectivity across campus,” she says. “With more activity, it’s more likely to draw the university up that way. So whatever we do with I2C on will improve walkability as a whole.”
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Wayne Pediatrics recruiting heats up, plans to occupy former Hospice of Michigan building

The future of newly formed Wayne Pediatrics and restructured University Physician Group, two affiliates of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, is becoming clearer with a planned occupancy in October of the former Hospice of Michigan building at 400 Mack Ave. in Detroit. In late June, UPG signed a two-year lease with an option to purchase the 55,000-square-foot, five-story building, across the street from the Detroit Medical Center campus. Wayne Pediatrics also has committed to sublease an unspecified amount of space for its new administrative and clinical offices. On Oct. 1, 75-80 UPG administrative staff will move into the practice's new headquarters and clinic, said UPG CEO Charles Shanley, M.D.
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Wayne State University, Michigan Mobility Institute launch new mobility center

Wayne State University and the Michigan Mobility Institute announced their collaborative design of the Center for Advanced Mobility and curriculum on Monday. The expanding engineering curriculum will offer programs focusing on "autonomous driving, connectivity, smart infrastructure and electrification," according to a news release from the Center for Advanced Mobility at Wayne State University. The center will be part of the university's Industry Innovation Centers and is set to launch in the fall. "This will be a leading global center for the future of mobility," said Farshad Fotouhi, dean of the College of Engineering. "The Center for Advanced Mobility will be the epicenter for academic and startup activity in the mobility sector for students, researchers, and global corporate partners in Detroit." The college also plans to offer a Master of Science in Robotics in the fall of 2020.
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Wayne State looks to 'create a new culture' to bounce back from two-win season

Wayne State football coach Paul Winters hadn’t experienced a season like 2018’s 2-9 campaign since his first season in 2004 when the rookie head coach got his feet wet at Wayne State with a 1-9 mark. Winters isn’t shy about the team falling short of expectations, describing his 2018 team Monday as struggling quite a bit at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's media day. In order to get back to respectability in the GLIAC, Winters said his team will have to embrace the grindstone, highlighting work ethic as the key to engineering a turnaround. “The GLIAC is the SEC of Division II,” Winters said. “Every week it’s a great challenge. Our guys are all upset with the results of last season. We’ve got guys that are anxious to show that that’s (last season’s record) not us.” Last season’s low win total brought Winters’s career record at Wayne State under .500, but if anyone knows how to steer Wayne State football to the national stage, it’s probably Winters. His 2011 squad was the Division II national runner-up and Wayne State had winning seasons from 2008 to 2012. Plus, Winters has put players into the NFL, including Joique Bell. Anthony Pittman, a linebacker last season, is vying for a spot with the Lions.
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Ethnic and minority media to play a key role in 2020 Census complete count

Hayg Oshagan, director of New Michigan Media (NMM) and professor of communications at Wayne State University, recently sat down with The Arab American News Publisher Osama Siblani for a discussion about the 2020 Census and the role of ethnic and minority media outlets in ensuring a complete and accurate count. NMM is a network of  more than 100 ethnic and minority media across Michigan. Organized eight years ago by Oshagan, it includes the “Big Five weekly” of The Arab American News, the Jewish News, the Michigan Chronicle, the Latino Press and the Korean Weekly. `Appointed by Gov. Whitmer to sit on state level committees to ensure an accurate and complete count, Oshagan also sits on other committees in Wayne County and Detroit for the 2020 Census. “New Michigan Media is a collaboration of the five largest ethnic and minority media in the region and it is the only such collaboration in the country,” Oshagan said. “It is not just a symbolic, it is a real collaboration where we get together to help the ethnic and minority communities in our region.” The reason why NMM is keen on ensuring a fair count for the 2020 Census is because, “traditionally, the people who are under-counted are minorities,” Oshagan said. “The reason is because they are usually the ones who do not respond. The Michigan Non-profit Association (MNA) has been trying to raise funds to spread awareness on the importance of the 2020 Census. It has reached out to New Michigan Media in order to reach the minority population across Michigan through the minority and ethnic press that serve them. In cooperation with MNA, NMM will hold three conferences across the state to engage ethnic and minority media and coordinate the efforts for a complete and accurate count 2020 Census. The first conference will be held at Wayne State University on Wednesday, July 24  from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Governor Whitmer will be the keynote speaker, along with Wayne County Executive Warren Evans among other local officials.
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Wayne State researchers look to curb nicotine, tobacco use

A new research division at Wayne State University will focus on ways to improve health by reducing the use of nicotine and tobacco. The unit at the School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences launched this month and it's called the Nicotine and Tobacco Research Division. It offers Wayne State researchers a hub to enhance research communication, collaboration and educational opportunities. Dr. David Ledgerwood, an associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is director of the division. The division will encourage multidisciplinary collaboration among scientists who are studying nicotine and tobacco use as well as in the broader academic community. It also will seek to heighten the profile of nicotine and tobacco research by showcasing studies and scientific programs.
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Wayne State University president Road Warrior bike tour stops in Ludington

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson will be visiting Ludington during his third annual Road Warrior bicycle tour that includes stops at four different cities in five days. Seven riders will be participating in the entire tour, including Wilson. Others will do segments, like one day, Wilson said. “This year we wanted to focus on and visit with alumni, donors and friends of the university,” said Wilson. Rob MacGregor, senior director of philanthropy at Wayne State Law School, said his daughter is riding a 100-mile segment. (Full access to article requires subscription)
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Wayne State president to ride through Midland, host reception

If there are any Wayne State University alumni or supporters in the area, July 24 will be your chance to reconnect and celebrate during a reception at Midland Center for the Arts, as part of the third annual Road Warrior bike tour. The tour begins Monday, July 22, and will end when the group of about seven cyclists makes their way back to the WSU campus during the afternoon of Friday, July 26. By the end of the tour, the cyclists will have biked 450 miles and visited four communities other than Detroit – Traverse City, Ludington, Midland and Rochester. Among the group will be WSU President M. Roy Wilson who is making the trip for the third year. Wilson, an avid cyclist, said the point of the trip is to get out into the community, gain new insights and network with the university’s supporters. “This idea came to me after the 2016 election because it’s apparent we’re becoming more polarized and I thought that there were segments of the community that we just weren’t reaching,” he said. “And since we’re a state institution we serve the state, we should be serving all communities, including rural communities and other communities that we don’t typically reach out to on a routine basis.” He said biking the state allows him to gain new perspectives and a better understanding of the people and their concerns. Regarding WSU, he said the main concerns he hears is surprisingly not tuition, but the value of attending a university. “With all the talk about tuition and the emphasis on trying to keep tuition down, I thought that would be a more important topic, and it’s not to say it’s unimportant, but really people were concerned about value,” he said. “And they don’t mind paying the tuition if they think they’re going to get good value for their money and they think it’s going to make a difference in their lives or in the lives of their sons and daughters.” And while the previous two years of the bike tour have focused on community outreach, this year’s theme is centered around celebrations with donors, alumni and friends of the university, Wilson said. “We want to make more of a focus on our alumni and donors and hear what they’re thinking and what their priorities are, and what their ambitions are for how the university can best serve them,” he said. Having a significant population of alumni and supporters in the area, Midland made the list of this year’s cities to visit, Wilson said. He added that he hopes once it’s over that the people who participated feel a greater connection to WSU. “I want them to know that we care about them and I hope that by making an effort to reach out and see them that they realize that,” he said. “… To be able to share time and gain some perspective from people who we don’t typically connect with, I think is going to be really important.”
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Road Warrior Bike Tour begins July 22

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson is about to set out on another bike tour of Michigan, and this year he's casting a wider net. Wilson will take the third annual Road Warrior bike tour farther north this summer, biking to four cities in five days. Beginning Monday, July 22 cyclists will bike 450 miles by the time they're done Friday, July 26. By the end of the tour, the cyclists will have biked 450 miles and visited four communities. This year's Road Warrior bike tour will differ from the previous two in terms of theme and focus. Whereas the theme of the first two tours was community outreach and telling the Wayne State story, this year's tour will focus more on celebrations with donors, alumni and friends of the university. Wilson dropped by the Fox2 News studios Saturday morning to talk about his trip and mission. The schedule for the Road Warrior tour stops: July 22 at Chateau Chantal Winery in Traverse City; July 23 at Ludington Bay Brewing Co. in Ludington, 6-8 p.m.; July 24 at the Midland Center for the Arts and Dow Garden in Midland, 6-8 p.m.; July 25 at Rochester Mills Beer Co. in Rochester, 6-8 p.m.; July 26 at Tony V's Tavern in Detroit, 2 p.m.
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Could dropouts be the solution to the education crisis?

The vice president for applied research at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), Julie Ajinkya explained many of the underlying causes students dropout or face difficulty coming back to school have to do with the lack of affordable education. “The reasons students drop out are almost always financially related,” Ajinkya says. “Even the personal reasons people cite are financially related, like not being able to find affordable childcare, or transportation to actually be able to take your classes.” In addition to overseeing Degrees When Due, a free program designed to help institutions build their own capacity to help bring dropouts back, Ajinkya and IHEP have also analyzed another program for dropouts, Warrior Way Back, an initiative out of Wayne State University, that uses incremental debt forgiveness as incentive for dropouts. 
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New arena approved for WSU basketball and Pistons’ G League affiliate

In May of this year, Wayne State’s board of governors approved plans for the construction of an arena that will host Wayne State men’s and women’s basketball games, as well as contests for the Pistons’ G League affiliate. Rob Fournier, Wayne State director of athletics, expects the arena — which he said will have a seating capacity of about 3,000 — to be completed in July of 2021 on the campus of Wayne State, near the intersection of Warren and Trumbull avenues in Detroit. “Anytime your athletic program can be associated directly with a professional team, there’s no downside to it,” Fournier said. “Can you imagine showing a recruit around the facility and say, ‘Oh, by the way, we have a partnership with the Detroit Pistons of the NBA.’ How does that hurt your recruiting? Those are the kind of intangibles that separate you from other institutions.” The projected cost for the arena is $25 million. “The basic formula is we’re putting the money upfront, and then they’re paying us back money over a number of years to cover that cost,” Fournier said of the lease agreement with the Pistons.
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Amid an urgent public health crisis, a bid to find better ways to curb opioid abuse

Against a backdrop of steadily-soaring opioid-related death rates in the U.S., state agencies and private funders are pairing up to tackle the complex problem of opioid use disorder. A new program, recently announced by the Michigan Opoid Partnership and Governor Gretchen Whitmer, aims to serve as a model of best practices for other states, especially those with large rural populations, in addressing opioid addiction. The $5 million series of grants will go towards the removal of barriers to effective treatment for opioid use disorder at all levels, from training and prevention to coordination, implementation and data collection. Another $1.5 million of the funds will go to select county jails and Wayne State University's Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, which will coodinate MAT programs and therapeutic behavioral treatments for incarcerated individuals over a 16-month period.
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The new battlefront in food insecurity fight

Food insecurity, defined as being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food, is currently a situation that 12.3 percent of U.S. households experience. It's defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food. However, David Strauss, Wayne State University dean of students, says, “It's not just food – it's all basic needs. With the increasing costs of tuition for college, it's food, shelter, clothing.” Strauss said on the Wayne State campus he has seen an increase in student food insecurity in the last decade. “We weren't talking about this 10 years ago. We weren't talking about food insecurity, homelessness, basic needs challenges. Everyone was always having food drives for Gleaners (Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan,) but that was for other people. Now we're having department food drives for our students.” Strauss and other administrators at area schools of higher education emphasize the reason food insecurity and hunger is such a major issue – and pressing talking point – is because it can be a direct impediment to student success. “If we look at student success, and we focus on student success and graduation, our number one goal is to get them across the finish line – and if we cannot get them nourishment, we can't help them succeed and cross the finish line,” Strauss explained. “If students aren't eating, they're going to class, working part or full-time jobs, they're operating on fumes,” noted Raneisha Williams Fox, coordinator of student wellness at Wayne State University and the W Pantry, Wayne State's food pantry, which during the 2018-2019 school year gave out more than 8,000 pounds of food. It opened in April 2017. “In a week we'll see 25 to 28 students, and between 80 and 100 students monthly. Since we've opened we've serviced 1,500 students, and we've given out more than 20,000 pounds of food.”
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NATO’s future to be explored July 25 at Wayne State University

The Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Wayne State University, in collaboration with NATO, is presenting a half-day symposium from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, July 25. The program will feature a keynote by former U.S. Senator Carl Levin titled “The Evolution and Future Direction of NATO.” A panel also will be held, featuring NATO Assistant Secretary General John Manza — a Wayne State University alumnus — and other distinguished security policy analysts and alliance scholars from Ohio State and Wayne State universities. Given the timeliness of this topic, the general public, media, as well as diplomatic and military officials in the region — including Canada — are welcome to attend the symposium and learn more about this key alliance. “In light of controversies over matters such as funding and future defense commitments, it is important for Americans, Canadians and others to know of NATO’s varied missions, which range from continental defense to naval rescue and multiregional peacekeeping,” said Frederic Pearson, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies director. “The alliance also has close relations with other organizations, including the European Union and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as individual national governments. Come and hear of these multiple facets.”
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$5M pledged for new opioid addition treatment program in public, private partnership

Combining private and public dollars, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer launched a new initiative to combat the same growing opioid crisis in the state that’s plaguing the country and killing thousands of Americans every year. The collaborative program, dubbed the Michigan Opioid Partnership, aims to remove barriers to those people who need to enter an opioid treatment program and find a path to success, Whitmer said Monday afternoon during a news conference on the campus of Wayne State University. In addition to the medication system in hospitals, the program will assist jails using a continuity-of-care approach focused on long-term treatment of opioid disorder using $1.5 million in funds. The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at Wayne State University will get the grant to coordinate the efforts. County jails will be selected for funding to work in partnership with the university team to serve inmates with addiction. The program will last 16-months and will work like an extension of the current program in place, explained Sheryl Kubiac, the dean of Wayne State University’s School of Social Work and Director of the Center for Behavioral Health. Kubiac said the program was already involved in 16 counties with jail administrators and community stakeholders. “We’re going to act as sort of the glue, or the external facilitators to go into the counties and get folks to talk to each other,” she said. “Inside the jails we are going to lead them through a needs assessment. Each one of the county jails that works with us will get approximately $250,000 to be able to apply to an area of need.” Kubiac said working with addicts in jail is different than when someone is in the emergency department at a hospital; in jail, a person is forced to look at the problem and can’t hide from it. “You don’t get the hospital ER where they come in and go out. People that go in jail are usually there for a few days so you get a chance to really engage them, or begin the process of engagement and that’s really important when someone is addicted – you need that time to really engage them,” she said. “The medications do a start to get people paying attention and stabilize, but then what we have to do is try and figure out why they were using and try to fix what’s happening emotionally or psychologically.”
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Wayne State Police rescue concussed peregrine falcon chick

A peregrine falcon chick is recovering from a concussion after Wayne State University police rescued him from a grassy median at a busy intersection last week. Police were responding to a call about a big bird near the intersection of Cass and Warren in Midtown when two officers spotted the injured chick Wednesday night. “As we got closer, we could see blood close to the beak,” Officer Matt Roznowski tells the Metro Times. He and his partner Asaad Fradi gingerly placed the chick in a padded bag and took him back to the police station. “I have a big heart for animals,” Roznowski says. Afraid the chick may die without medical care, Officer Heather Glowacz drove the chick to Spirit Filled Wings Raptor Rehabilitation in Romeo. The male chick is now in the good hands of Department of Natural Resources volunteer and falcon expert Dave Hogan. “He had a little bit of a concussion,” says Danielle Durham, a DNR nesting coordinator. “He’s doing OK.”