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Chamber Honors Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson with “Excellence In Education Leadership Award”

The Detroit Regional Chamber founded the “Excellence in Education Leadership Award” to recognize educators who demonstrate outstanding public service and leadership on behalf of the region. The award was inspired by the legacy of the outgoing University of Michigan-Dearborn Chancellor, Daniel Little, who was the first recipient in 2018. This year, the Chamber’s Greg Handel, vice president of Education and Talent Initiatives will award Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson as the second inaugural recipient of the Excellence in Education Leadership Award. Wilson has demonstrated exceptional commitment to better serving his students – Detroit’s future talent base – and fulfilling the important role his institution has in catalyzing regional economic development. Under his leadership, Wayne State has garnered national attention for their new approaches that has lifted the university up as one of the most innovative universities in the country.
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Sharp decline seen in kids choking to death on household objects

Efforts to reduce choking deaths among young children seem to have paid off: A new report finds the number of kids dying from choking on household objects has plummeted 75 percent since 1968. Regulations, more education about choking hazards and guidelines from organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have likely all played a role in the downward trend, said study author Dr. John Cramer. Cramer said that regulations may have played the most significant role in reducing child deaths from choking on small objects. "Some of the regulations from the last 50 years have forced people to do the right thing. When you buy toys or cribs now, products are designed so that they can't be choked on. If you're a parent and you go buy a crib, you don't have to think about buying a crib with small parts; it's already regulated," Cramer said. He's an assistant professor of otolaryngology -- head and neck surgery at Wayne State University. One example cited by the study authors is a 1979 law regarding products designed for young children. Products made for young children can no longer contain parts small enough to fit into a test cylinder that is approximately the size of the airway of a child younger than 3. Children under 3 are most at risk from choking, and they've also had the most significant drops in choking death rates over time, the study authors noted. "Choking hazard warnings for toys used in children under age 3 have probably had the biggest benefit over time. This is a developmental stage where kids are oral and exploratory, often putting things in their mouths," Cramer said.
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'Unlikely' documentary, about obstacles to completing college, gets free Detroit screening

Starting college doesn't always lead to a degree. An estimated 40 percent of students who started at a four-year university in 2011 didn't graduate in six years, according to federal statistics. The documentary "Unlikely" shows the obstacles students face that can lead to dropping out of college — often leaving people with debilitating debt but without a degree that can lead to higher earning potential and economic mobility. The film follows five students who manage school, jobs to pay for school, parenting, family tragedies and enormous debt on their mission to earn a degree — ultimately showing that dropping out doesn't have to spell the end of one's chances of pursuing higher education. The film's Detroit premiere takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11 at Cinema Detroit. The free screening is presented by the Kresge Education Program at the Kresge Foundation, WDET and Freep Film Festival. After the film, Director Jaye Fenderson will be part of a discussion that will also feature Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment management at Wayne State University, and Johnathan Williams, a graduate of Wayne State University's Warrior Way Back Program. Stephen Henderson, host of WDET's "Detroit Today," will moderate the conversation. 
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This emergency manager says better management wasn’t enough

Emergency managers appointed to heal the Detroit district’s finances did little more than apply Band-Aids to a major wound, according to a recent report. Robert Bobb, one of those emergency managers, says Band-Aids were all he had. Like others appointed to run Detroit Public Schools amid a financial crisis, Bobb took out loans to cover the district’s short-term costs, an approach that led to ballooning debt and interest payments. “We couldn’t make payroll. The district could not even pay its utility bills,” he recalled. “Either we close the doors, or we go to short-term borrowing that will have a negative impact in the long term.” The report, which was commissioned by the school board, found “startling mismanagement” by the state officials who largely ran the district between 1999 and 2015. “The whole idea of emergency management is that the school district’s problems are due to poor management and the failure or local democratic governance,” said Mike Addonizio, a professor of education at Wayne State University. “By 2016 it became apparent to policymakers in Lansing that there was no way to manage DPS out of its budget deficit.” Addonizio agrees that a major cash infusion was the only way to solve the problem. He believes it didn’t come sooner because of a political consensus in the Republican-controlled statehouse that the structural issues would be solved by school choice measures. “They were convinced that more choice could resolve problems of educational deficiencies and management problems. I guess maybe they thought that failing schools would close and that children would then enroll in schools that were succeeding. But when students leave schools and districts, the schools don’t close. The children remaining in the district just suffer.”
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Report: Detroit faces the most challenges to keeping kids in school

How bad is Detroit’s student chronic absenteeism problem? Wayne State University researchers have identified eight conditions — such as poverty, unemployment, and even cold temperatures — that are strongly correlated to chronic absence, and the city leads all other large metropolitan areas in having the worst outcomes for almost all of those conditions. The findings come with a key takeaway the researchers hope will prompt action: Schools alone can’t solve the problem of getting students to school every day, said Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, an assistant professor in the college of education at Wayne State University. And, the findings come during a critical time as the Detroit school district invests heavily in a number of efforts designed to get students in school. Citywide, across district and charter schools, about half of the students are chronically absent — meaning they’re missing 18 or more days during the school year. Lenhoff said what’s needed is a more coordinated effort that brings together policymakers, school district officials, charter school officials, community organizations, and community members. Without it, the work being done by schools is “unlikely to make the huge difference we need to make,” Lenhoff said.
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FTC approves toothless settlement with DFW staffing agencies over wage fixing allegations

In March 2017, Neeraj Jindal had a problem. He ran a Richland Hills staffing agency that provided home health care agencies with therapists to do house calls. One of those agencies had just informed him that it was reducing the amount it would be paying for each house call. Jindal knew if he passed this pay cut down to the therapists, they would find another staffing agency to work with, threatening his business. So Jindal did what squeezed contractors often do: He decided to screw his workers. Jindal directed one of his physical therapists to send a text message to Sheri Yarbray, the owner of a competing staffing agency. The message disclosed the new, lower rate that Jindal planned to pay his therapists. Yarbray responded: “Yes I agree[.] I’ll do it with u.” Jindal then contacted four other DFW therapist staffing agencies requesting that they lower their rates the same amount. Laura Padin, a senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project, called this a “blatant example” of wage fixing, which particularly threatens gig workers — independent contractors, like many of these therapists — who are vulnerable to collusion by the large firms that typically employ them. The Federal Trade Commission investigated, and confirmed that Jindal and Yarbray had indeed broken the law. But, in a move that seemed to rile nearly everyone, from legal scholars and unions to one of the agency's own commissioners, the agency declined to levy any punishment. Sanjukta Paul, a law professor at Wayne State University,.said that monetary penalties are necessary in a case like this to change the “decision calculus for these middlemen businesses” and make wage fixing less attractive. Generally, such schemes are difficult to identify, making this a rare opportunity to penalize perpetrators. But she’s encouraged by the public statements being made by the FTC’s Democratic commissioners, which she said could mark a change in the agency’s antitrust enforcement strategy. “There's kind of been this bipartisan consensus that overall antitrust law doesn’t do much,” she said. “I think that antitrust law can be leveraged to make this a slightly less terrible place for American workers,” Paul added.
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Why are uterine cancer rates rising so drastically in black women?

According to a December 2018 report from the CDC, the number of new uterine cancer diagnoses increased an average of 0.7 percent per year between 1999 and 2015, resulting in an overall 12 percent rise. Rates of endometrial cancer, specifically, jumped 4.5 percent per year on average. The uterine cancer mortality rate increased 1.1 percent per year on average between 1999 and 2016, amounting to a 21 percent leap overall. What’s more, the burden of uterine cancer is greatest for black women, and the disparity is increasing with time. While that same CDC report found that non-Hispanic white and black women had similar incidences of uterine cancer (about 27 cases out of 100,000 people), black women were more likely to be diagnosed with uterine sarcoma, the most aggressive form of uterine cancer, than women of other races, and also more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage than women of other races. Teasing apart the potential reasons behind this disparity is a complex task. The puzzle pieces start to come together when you look at some of the major risk factors for developing uterine cancer. Let’s start with endometrial cancer risk factors. “We do know that obesity is one risk factor,” Michele L. Cote, Ph.D., a professor of Oncology at Wayne State University and associate center director of Cancer Research Career Enhancement, tells SELF. This is because it’s a health condition that can increase the amount of estrogen in your body. Another endometrial cancer risk factor revolves around children. “The more children you have, the lower your risk,” Cote says. Pregnancy increases your output of progesterone, so you might benefit from its protective effects against this cancer. But people are generally having fewer kids these days, Cote explains, including black women. “Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of research data yet on why black women are more likely to have a more aggressive form of uterine cancer,” Cote says.
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Detroiters just got free college thanks to Wayne State

Access to higher education is one of the key drivers of economic mobility, particularly in a city like Detroit where poverty rates are “nearly three times higher than the national average” at close to 35%. While Detroit has a very high high school graduation rate — over 88% — this falls off substantially when it comes to higher education. Only 28% make it through a 4-year degree, and 11%  through a graduate or professional degree program. Wayne State University, an institution that serves close to 18,000 undergraduate students each year, is looking to fix this — having taken the highly unusual step for a public institution of making tuition free for any high school graduate with a Detroit address who receives admission, starting in 2020. Keith Whitfield, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs talked about this historic announcement and its economic impacts. 
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Medical students take to the streets to give free care to Detroit's homeless

Armed with care packages, clothes and clinical supplies, medical students in Detroit are learning outside the classroom. They are putting their knowledge and boots to the pavement, providing free health care to the city's homeless. Each week, students under the supervision of a registered physician or nurse practitioner get on their bikes and look for those in need. Programs such as Michigan State University's Detroit Street Care, Wayne State University's Street Medicine Detroit and the University of Michigan's Wolverine Street Medicine work together to treat as many of the city's homeless as possible. Jedidiah Bell, a fourth-year med student at Wayne State University and president of Street Medicine Detroit, says seeing issues from lack of health care access in his home country of Zimbabwe made him want to participate. "When I moved to the states for university and medical school, I saw the similar things [lack of access] with the homeless population," said Bell. "When I saw street medicine, I appreciated the model of how can we take medical care to the street and build up trust to bridge the gap between the homeless and the medical world." While the programs provide a vital service to the community, Bell says the real-world experience teaches students things the classroom or clinic can't. "It teaches medical students to hone-in on, not just medical conditions of patients, but to be able to sit down and form relationships and discuss other things that might be contributing to [patients'] health but might not come up during a traditional medical encounter." Bell says there's a widespread belief that the "students take away more from people on the streets than they take away from us." Anneliese Petersen, a second-year medical student at Wayne State University and volunteer with Street Medicine Detroit, says the experience also shows upcoming medical professionals another side of health -- the social determinants. "Things that are not strictly medical-based but have a strong impact on health and well-being. Income, access to health care, access to medication, being able to eat well, sleep well, to be able to relax and not be under chronic stress."

Bringing the student startup dream to life at Wayne State

Armed with care packages, clothes and clinical supplies, medical students in Detroit are learning outside the classroom. They are putting their knowledge and boots to the pavement, providing free health care to the city's homeless. Each week, students under the supervision of a registered physician or nurse practitioner get on their bikes and look for those in need. Programs such as Michigan State University's Detroit Street Care, Wayne State University's Street Medicine Detroit and the University of Michigan's Wolverine Street Medicine work together to treat as many of the city's homeless as possible. Jedidiah Bell, a fourth-year med student at Wayne State University and president of Street Medicine Detroit, says seeing issues from lack of health care access in his home country of Zimbabwe made him want to participate. "When I moved to the states for university and medical school, I saw the similar things [lack of access] with the homeless population," said Bell. "When I saw street medicine, I appreciated the model of how can we take medical care to the street and build up trust to bridge the gap between the homeless and the medical world." While the programs provide a vital service to the community, Bell says the real-world experience teaches students things the classroom or clinic can't. "It teaches medical students to hone-in on, not just medical conditions of patients, but to be able to sit down and form relationships and discuss other things that might be contributing to [patients'] health but might not come up during a traditional medical encounter." Bell says there's a widespread belief that the "students take away more from people on the streets than they take away from us." Anneliese Petersen, a second-year medical student at Wayne State University and volunteer with Street Medicine Detroit, says the experience also shows upcoming medical professionals another side of health -- the social determinants. "Things that are not strictly medical-based but have a strong impact on health and well-being. Income, access to health care, access to medication, being able to eat well, sleep well, to be able to relax and not be under chronic stress."
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Wayne State Tuition Pledge Aims to ‘Meet the 360 Degree Needs’ of Detroit Students

Wayne State University made a big splash this week, announcing that it will give free tuition to students who live in Detroit starting with students who graduate from high school next year. The University is calling it the Heart of Detroit Promise. But what’s the likely impact of the program? Wayne State University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Keith Whitfield talked with Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson about the announcement.
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Should public servants refuse to serve under President Trump?

Sylvia Taschka teaches modern German and world history at Wayne State University and is the author of a book about Hans Heinrich Dieckhoff, the last German ambassador to the United States before the Second World War. Taschka wrote a historical perspective piece focusing on the question: Should diplomats resign or decline to serve if they have deep moral misgivings about their government’s policy, or should they remain in office to try to prevent worse from happening?
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To re-engage drop outs, Wayne State program offers $1,500 in debt forgiveness

One of the big problems facing higher education is people who leave college before they get a degree and still owe the school money. Wayne State University decided to tackle that problem by giving former students a chance to come back and finish a degree, while forgiving some or all of their previous debt. Dawn Medley is Wayne State’s associate vice president for enrollment management, and Shawnte Cain is a student who took advantage of the "Warrior Way Back" program. They broke down how leaving college with an outstanding balance can affect a person’s future, and how the university will determine whether the program is successful and sustainable.
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Wayne State announces free tuition for Detroit students, residents

Michigan Gov. Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan joined Wayne State University officials to announce a free tuition program for students at Detroit high schools. The program is being called the "Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge." The free tuition is for Detroit students who live in the city and attend public schools, charter schools or private schools. "This is a tremendous day for Wayne State and for Detroit students," said WSU President M. Roy Wilson. "This initiative aligns perfectly with many of our institutional values. Opportunity, accessibility and affordability are all pillars of the high quality education we provide, and the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge delivers on all those values. With the resources and opportunities on campus and the exciting resurgence in Detroit, it's never been a better time to be a Warrior."
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Wayne State giving free college tuition to all Detroit high school grads, residents

Michigan Gov. Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan joined Wayne State University officials to announce a free tuition program for students at Detroit high schools. The program is being called the "Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge." The free tuition is for Detroit students who live in the city and attend public schools, charter schools or private schools. "This is a tremendous day for Wayne State and for Detroit students," said WSU President M. Roy Wilson. "This initiative aligns perfectly with many of our institutional values. Opportunity, accessibility and affordability are all pillars of the high quality education we provide, and the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge delivers on all those values. With the resources and opportunities on campus and the exciting resurgence in Detroit, it's never been a better time to be a Warrior."
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Wayne State to give free tuition to city of Detroit high school graduates

Wayne State University will give free tuition to all city of Detroit students who graduate from high school, starting with this year's graduating class. The free tuition is good for those attending traditional public schools, charter schools or private schools and making any amount of money. The only restriction: The student must live in the city of Detroit. The scholarship, called the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge, was announced Wednesday morning by Wayne State President Roy Wilson at an event attended by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. "This initiative aligns perfectly with many of our institutional values," Wilson said in a news release. "Opportunity, accessibility and affordability are all pillars of the high quality education we provide, and the Heart of Detroit scholarship delivers on all those values." Dawn Medley, Wayne State’s associate vice president for enrollment management, said in an exclusive interview with the Free Press: “We didn't want to have a lot of reasons why people wouldn't qualify. We thought we could go bold. It's really as close to free college as we can get in terms of tuition." Wayne State officials expect to see an uptick in students coming to their school. "What happens if we are overrun with students?" Medley said. "That would be amazing." She said Wayne State will be able to accommodate any additional students. She said the university is also prepared to help students, recognizing that many students, especially first-generation students, have challenges to succeed at college beyond just cost of attendance. "We want to be stretched in supporting students," Medley said. "We will be ready to take on the challenge."

How a Detroit area university’s debt-relief program has welcomed back and graduated students

Black college students are three times more likely to default on their loans than their white peers, and there are nearly 700,000 college students in the Detroit area that have dropped out after taking some classes but before earning a degree. Wayne State University’s Warrior Way Back debt-relief program is welcoming those students back, including recent graduate Shawnte’ Cain and Antonio Mitchell, who is currently a senior in the Mike Ilitch School of Business. “For me, Warrior Way Back is more of a social justice mentality and mindset in higher education, that we are knocking down those barriers for students to reach their potential. That’s successful in and of itself,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management.
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Where is my Xanax Rx? Why your doctor may be concerned about prescribing benzodiazepines

Arash Javanbakht, associate professor of psychiatry, wrote a piece about benzodiazepines, a class of anti-anxiety medications that increase the activity of the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors in the brain. There has been increasing attention into long-term risks of benzodiazepines, including potential for addiction, overdose and cognitive impairment. The overdose death rate among patients receiving both benzodiazepines and opioids is 10 times higher than those only receiving opioids, and benzo misuse is a serious concern. The benzo family includes diazepam, or Valium; clonazepam, or Klonopin; lorazepam, or Ativan; chlordiazepoxide, or Librium; and the one most commonly known to the pop culture, alprazolan, or Xanax, among others. A major risk of long-term use of benzos is addiction. That means you may become dependent on these meds and that you have to keep increasing the dose to get the same effect. Actually benzos, especially Xanax, have street value because of the pleasant feeling they induce. In 2017, there were more than 11,000 deaths involving benzos alone or with other drugs, and in 2015, a fifth of those who died of opioid overdose also had benzos in their blood. There are safer effective treatments for anxiety, but they require patience to work. A first line treatment for anxiety disorders is psychotherapy, mainly cognitive behavioral therapy. During therapy, the person learns more adaptive coping skills, and corrects cognitive distortions to reduce stress.