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Transfer students have clear path to bachelor’s degree with new partnership between Wayne County Community College District and Wayne State University

DETROIT – A new agreement between two of Detroit’s leading higher education institutions provides transfer students with a clear path from an associate degree to a bachelor’s, limiting potential loss of credits and helping families save tuition dollars. The new Transfer Pathways Agreement between Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) and Wayne State University maximizes credits students earn while completing an associate degree at WCCCD and transferring to WSU to complete their bachelor’s. A special signing ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 9, at the Wayne State University Integrative Biosciences Center, 6135 Woodward Ave., Detroit, 48202, will celebrate the program, which goes into effect in fall 2023. Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson and WCCCD Chancellor Curtis L. Ivery will officially sign the agreement and speak about the importance of the partnership, as will several students who began their academic careers at WCCCD and are now proud Wayne State Warriors. "We are proud to announce an agreement that continues our work with an institution that shares our commitment to helping people thrive through higher education,” Chancellor Ivery says. “This partnership will help more students forge career pathways to high-wage and in-demand job opportunities that will allow them to grow in place, support themselves and their families, and help their communities grow." The Pathways program provides a seamless transfer between schools, with the goal of students completing a bachelor’s within four years. Students will be eligible for WSU transfer merit scholarships valued at up to $6,000 a year and receive specialized academic advising and career counseling prior to transferring and once they enroll at Wayne State. “This new agreement strengthens the collaboration that already exists between our two institutions and elevates it to a new level,” President Wilson says. “But, more importantly, it benefits students in Detroit and Wayne County and contributes to the region and state’s competitiveness. “With our new agreement, we are offering students – including nontraditional and adult learners – high-quality education and seamless pathways to earn two degrees, which will set them on a trajectory of economic advancement and social mobility.”  WCCCD Pathways students who meet program requirements will receive guaranteed admission to Wayne State. Requirements include earning at least 60 credit hours with a 2.5 or higher GPA and completing their associate degree at WCCCD. About Wayne County Community College District WCCCD, one of the largest urban community colleges in Michigan, is a multi-campus district with six campus locations and educational centers, including the Mary Ellen Stempfle University Center, the Heinz C. Prechter Educational and Performing Arts Center, the Michigan Institute for Public Safety Education (MIPSE), the Curtis L. Ivery Health and Wellness Education Center and the Outdoor Careers Training Center. The District serves students across 32 cities and townships, and more than 500 square miles. WCCCD is committed to the continued development of innovative programs, workforce transformation, hosting community-based training sessions, and improving student facilities and services. About Wayne State University Wayne State University is one of the nation's pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world.    
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Healing from racism is the subject of a day-long event at Wayne State

Racial justice leaders are hosting a day-long event at Wayne State University on Tuesday designed to help people heal from racism. The National Day of Healing from Racism, held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Student Center Ballroom, is focused on learning how to discuss racism’s impact and how to heal from it. The event is hosted by the Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL), an initiative of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at the Law School, in collaboration with the WSU Office of Multicultural Student Engagement and the WSU Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “We are thrilled to be back in person for this year’s event after successfully pivoting to a virtual format in 2021 and 2022," DEAL Director Asandi Conner said in a statement Wednesday. “We have a dynamic roster of practitioners, facilitators, faculty, and staff contributing to our collective effort to acknowledge and heal from racism’s wounds.”  
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Wayne State celebrates 60 years since the March on Washington

Wayne State University is hosting a two-part event dedicated to honoring and preserving the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his famed 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event series will feature a panel discussion about the economic force of diversity, equity and inclusion, and an awards ceremony for exemplary community leaders. Stacie Clayton is the director of Wayne State’s Division of Government and Community Affairs. She says Wayne State wants to remind people what King’s speech and march were all about. “Our focus is on economics and social justice. We want to make sure that our students understand their role in the economy, specifically Detroit’s economy, and to understand how there are opportunities. While most people know [Dr. King’s] ‘I Have a Dream’ speech as a rallying call for equality, it also was a rallying call for economic equality. And part of that comes with jobs and employment.” The Economics of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Panel Discussion will take place at the Industry Innovation Center Auditorium on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 5 p.m. Participants are asked to RSVP in advance as seating is limited. Randy D. Williams, founder and president of Talley & Twine, the largest Black-owned watch company in the country, will also give a keynote address about connecting social justice to economic growth at the Mike Ilitch School of Business Lear Auditorium on Friday, Jan. 13. Participants can also RSVP to this address online.
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Wayne State research group receives $50,000 grant to help solve Detroit’s flooding issues

Wayne State University is leading a project, called Recovering from Expected Flooding Under Residential Buildings (REFURB), which will use technology to improve recovery from and preparation for ongoing flooding in homes in eastside Detroit neighborhoods. The research team will focus on sewer systems that are undersized and poorly maintained. “Our focus will be in neighborhoods with older homes connected to again sewer systems that are undersized and poorly maintained due to racially-driven development policy and investment decisions,” said Richard Smith, REFURB principal investigator and associate dean for research and professor in the School of Social Work. The grant comes from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as part of the Civic Innovation Challenge. Researchers will gather data, research what support is needed and develop systems to put in place for Detroiters. 
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Learn about the new security and light installations at Noel Night downtown this year

Saturday night Downtown Detroit was full of the holiday spirit and bright lights at the 48th annual Noel Night. The event was the first one since 2020 due to the pandemic and this year there was increased security to ensure a peaceful night. Detroit Police Commander Melissa Gardner says the increased security included four difference police agencies: Detroit Police, the Wayne County Reserves, Wayne State Police, and a private off-duty police force called Blue Line Protection.
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Detroit police make 60+ mental health runs per day; new program aims to help

By Sarah Grimmer Activists in Detroit have called for a third-party mental health response team. Dr. Gerald Sheiner, a psychiatrist at Sinai-Grace Hospital and professor at Wayne State University, agrees. “Mental health care is at a crisis state in our city and across the country,” Sheiner said. Dr. Sheiner responds to mental health patients at the hospital and says when those patients are having their worst moments, the presence of weapons or intimidating personnel often makes the situation worse. “Patients who experience those type of difficulties are often frightened and think that everyone else is out to do them harm,” he said. “Mental health professionals are the best fit personnel to respond to mental health crisis, but mental health professionals are not available.” With a lack of a mental health response team, Detroit police have been responding to the uptick in mental health calls. The department is responding to an average of 64 mental health runs per day, more than three times as many as in 2020. “64 calls a day is beyond the ability of emergency services to care for in many instances,’ said Sheiner. DPD has been partnering with the Detroit Wayne Integrated Crisis Intervention Team for training and are working with activists and elected officials to create a non-police response program to address non-violent mental health calls. “I think that a straight up mental health response presents someone to intervene who is less threatening to a patient and someone who intervenes who has more experience dealing with a patient in crisis,” said Sheiner.
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Investigators go inside Wayne County Morgue more than a year after exposing mistakes, mismanagement

By Karen Drew  It’s been a year-long investigation exposing poor record keeping, decomposing bodies and delays in contacting families of the dead at the Wayne County Morgue. Local 4’s Karen Drew, who led the year-long investigation of issue at the Wayne County Morgue, sat down with the new leadership, Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. Wayne State University School of Medicine has taken over the Wayne County Morgue with a 5-year, $70 million contract. Dean Dr. Wael Sakr discussed how he plans to address issues at the morgue, including an aggressive recruitment campaign to hire more medical examiners, improved record keeping and more. “We’re going to fix that [record keeping] through our software and data management, we are implementing the most current, modern version of it by the end of the month,” Dr. Sakr said. In a rare and surprising move, the new leadership allowed Local 4 cameras inside the medical examiner’s office. “Beyond just autopsies, and toxicology and histology. But how can we improve the health of the people in Wayne County? We can do that through the medical examiner’s office. There is data that we can utilize to really help us from a population health perspective,” said Thane Peterson, vice dean for finance and administration at the School of Medicine.  
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Attendance rates in Michigan schools reach five-year low

By Sascha Raiyn  Attendance in Michigan schools fell during the 2021-22 academic year. The Detroit Free Press reports the statewide attendance rate has fallen below 90% for the first time in five years, hitting 88% last year. Detroit’s public school system has struggled with attendance throughout the COVID pandemic. DPSCD’s attendance rate for the 2021 school year was around 75%. According to Sarah Lenhoff, a professor of education at Wayne State University, housing insecurity made worse by the pandemic is a major factor in chronic absenteeism. “We’re seeing that revert back to normal and maybe even worse than normal in terms of students experiencing housing instability,” Lenhoff said. “We know that housing instability, homelessness, eviction are just really high correlates to attendance problems.”  
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Mobile health meets Detroiters ‘where they are’ for care

By Julie Walker After two decades of providing care in the Sinai-Grace emergency room, nurse Josephine Quaye-Molex has embraced a new way of connecting with patients. In late July, the venue was a van parked outside Immanuel Grace AME Church on Conner. Quaye-Molex joined the Wayne Health Mobile Unit about a year ago and said the ease of access has been reassuring for those who often have felt dismissed or mistrustful of doctors in traditional healthcare settings. The mobile units, she said, are meeting residents where they are and, in turn, building trust in the community. The setting also gives Quaye-Molex a chance to offer more feedback than the hospital’s ER might typically allow. “I get a lot more time to be able to sit and talk with my patients, or whoever it is that has approached,” she said. “They don’t necessarily have to get services, they just may have questions, and I’m able to answer those questions now.” Born out of necessity during the early peaks of the pandemic, some of the most vocal advocates behind mobile health said they are hopeful that the concept will alleviate barriers to healthcare access and increase trust in underserved communities like Detroit. Dr. Phillip Levy, who practices emergency room medicine at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital and leads the WSU and Wayne Health Mobile Unit program, is hopeful that they will help revolutionize medicine in at least two ways; easing access to care and preventing serious diseases before they start. Levy says five factors – high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol and obesity – contribute to 80% of chronic illnesses in the country, especially heart disease. Levy’s findings resulted in a grant and Wayne State University supported efforts to turn that data into a tool. The tool, coined PHOENIX, is intended to be used by community members and healthcare professionals to identify and curb risk factors before they turn into deadly disease. “At the end of the day, we’re going to affect the most people by screening for the most common disorders and diseases and fixing those problems,” Dr. Levy said.