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Wayne State celebrates completion of $151 million student apartment complex

The Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments, a $151 million apartment complex at Wayne State University, has been completed. The 406,800 square-foot 840-bed student housing and retail project is Wayne State's largest student housing structure cost-wise, Tim Michael, associate vice president of student auxiliary services and chief housing officer, said in a statement emailed to Crain's. The first phase of the project — an 11-story center tower with 400 beds — was completed in August 2018. The last phase added two wings of six and eight stories on either side of the central tower. Those towers added apartments for 440 residents as well as a 9,000-square-foot Campus Health Center on the ground floor of the north tower and more retail space, the school's website says. Students moved into the two newest buildings at the start of the fall semester. Wayne State and local officials held a ribbon-cutting celebration Wednesday to mark the end of construction. "We are beyond thrilled that our partnership with Corvias has enabled us to provide quality facilities and resources for our students, while also allowing us to advance financially," Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said in the release. "Wayne State has always aimed to create a positive economic impact on the greater Detroit community. With Corvias' investment, we continue to increase job growth and support local and small businesses."
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Big Sean’s foundation helps tackle student homelessness

Rapper Big Sean’s philanthropic foundation continues to support a program created to deal with student homelessness at Detroit’s Wayne State University. The school recently announced a gift of $10,000 from Sean Anderson Foundation to the HIGH (Helping Individuals Go Higher) Program. The foundation created a $25,000 endowment for the program in 2016 and followed with financial gifts in 2017 and last year. The HIGH Program, created in 2013, provides short-term help to students in need to provide some stability and help them complete their degree. Big Sean, a Detroit native, formed the foundation in 2012 to help improve the quality of life for young people and their families.
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Corvias completes state-of-the-art student housing complex, part of $307.5 million partnership with Wayne State University

A celebratory ribbon cutting was held Oct. 9 to mark the completion of Wayne State's Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments. The apartments will also feature more than 17,000 square feet of new retail space, along with the recently opened Campus Health Center. Through this $307.5 million partnership, 841 new beds have been successfully delivered, the Helen L. DeRoy Apartments were demolished to make way for a green space and an additional 370 renovated beds are coming in the Chatsworth Residence Hall. “We are beyond thrilled that our partnership with Corvias has enabled us to provide quality facilities and resources for our students, while also allowing us to advance financially," said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson. "Wayne State has always aimed to create a positive economic impact on the greater Detroit community. With Corvias' investment, we continue to increase job growth and support local and small businesses."
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Big Sean’s foundation donates $10,000 for Wayne State’s HIGH Program

Big Sean continues to put on for his city. The Detroit native donated $10,000 through his Sean Anderson Foundation to benefit Wayne State University’s HIGH (Helping Individuals Go Higher) program. This isn’t the first time that Sean has helped out in support of the program. In 2016, the foundation created a $25,000 endowment for the program. In 2017, the foundation donated $15,000 and then followed up with $10,000 in 2018. The Sean Anderson Foundation’s executive director spoke on the impact of this commitment. “We are pleased to continue our commitment to the HIGH Program in support of its dedication to students facing hardships,” said Myra Anderson. “The HIGH Program touches the lives of students, helping them as they pursue their higher education goals.” Jacqueline Wilson, who founded the HIGH Program in 2013, said, “The Sean Anderson Foundation has been a consistent supporter of the HIGH Program through its financial support. The foundation’s resolve to provide funding helps us pursue our mission to ensure that no student abandons their dream of earning a degree at Wayne State University solely because of housing or financial challenges.”
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A second chance at Detroit colleges

Dana Paglia was one of the first students to enroll in the Warrior Wayback program, an initiative Wayne State University launched last year that has become a model for higher ed institutions in the Detroit metro area and is drawing attention from well outside the Midwest region. The program offers incremental amounts of debt forgiveness to students who left without graduating if they re-enroll and make progress toward earning a degree. Warrior Wayback reflects the growing concern of many higher ed officials and policy makers with the number of students who leave college without a degree. Dawn Medley, Wayne State’s associate vice president for enrollment management, said she got the idea for Warrior Wayback after listening to a radio story about a Detroit initiative to forgive parking fines of residents. “We had been talking about re-engaging adult students. A lot of students are hindered not just by student loan debt. They were hindered because they also owed us [a balance],” she said. “What if we could set it aside like a parking fine?” Colleges can’t forgive students' federal or private loans. But small balances students owe to their institutions can often make or break their ability to complete college, especially if they’ve exhausted financial aid options such as federal grants and loans. “When they came to us originally, we said based on their admission that they could be successful here. Somewhere along the way, we as an institution weren’t there to be helpful,” Medley said. “We see it very much as the student giving us another chance.” Wayne State students who withdrew more than two years ago, had at least a 2.0 grade point average and owe no more than $1,500 to the college are eligible for the Warrior Wayback program. Medley said the college has identified about 5,000 former students in the area who qualify and for whom they have a current address. About 60 percent were seniors when they left the college. And the vast majority (about 80 percent) have some level of financial need. Medley said she hopes eligibility requirements for the program can eventually be expanded further. Since Wayne State began Warrior Wayback in the fall of 2018, 142 students have enrolled in the program. Twenty have since graduated, and 10 more are expected to follow suit in December.
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Wayne State University pediatrician and professor helps develop policy recognizing racism as a health factor

A Wayne State University pediatrician played a critical role in developing a national policy statement that recognizes for the first time the impact racism has on the health of American children and teens. Lynn Smitherman, M.D., FAAP, assistant professor of WSU Pediatrics, is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Task Force Addressing Bias and Discrimination. The task force’s work contributed to the policy statement, “The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health,” issued by the AAP on July 30. The statement is a call for action by the nation’s pediatricians to reduce the impact of racism and improve the health of American children. The AAP believes that racism has a significant impact on children’s health. The academy says that pediatricians must play a part in improving the health condition of children through listening to families, creating “culturally safe medical homes” and by becoming advocates for social justice in their communities. “Eliminating discrimination, racism and bias in the care of our most valuable resource, our children, is a basic tenet to any civil society. Participating in the AAP’s Task Force on Addressing Bias and Discrimination in the care of children was one of the many highlights of my professional career,” said Smitherman, who also chairs the National Medical Association’s Pediatric Section and is the vice chair of Medical Education for the WSU Department of Pediatrics. “Any activity to bring people together and heal the divides of this country are critically important to the well-being and health of the society in general. I was very proud that the AAP took this important position and that I, as a WSU faculty member, was able to contribute.”
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Protecting seniors from financial exploitation

Addressing what some call “The Crime of the 21st Century” Peter Lichtenberg of Wayne State University delivered an eye-opening presentation on the prevalence of financial exploitation in older adults. And the statistics reveal that it is growing at a rapid rate. In 2013, there were on average 1,300 suspicious activity reports a month, a figure that jumped to 5,700 a month in 2017 with an estimated loss of $1.7 billion in that year alone. “I just saw that millennials are getting scammed at a higher rate than older adults,” said Lichtenberg noting we are all vulnerable, “but the big losses, where you are scammed repeatedly are older adults.” Lichtenberg explained that cognitive impairment and probable Alzheimer’s Disease will affect nearly one out of every five individuals by the time they reach their 80th birthday. That figure jumps to nearly 40 percent by the age of 90. Referring to the insidious onset of the decline Lichtenberg said it often can be hidden. With cognitive aging folks can continue to retain facts, vocabulary and procedural knowledge without showing any signs in those areas, while at the same time losing reaction speed, memory and the ability to problem solve and plan. “They almost self-correct,” he observed changing social routines and curtailing their former hobbies. “It’s easy not to notice.” In the category of theft and scams, seniors can fall victim to various ploys losing their money to con artists, but often times the money is taken by family members, friends and trusted caregivers utilizing abuse of power, financial entitlement and coercion to access funds and even homes. “Just because someone has a cognitive impairment that doesn’t mean they can’t make any decisions,” said Lichtenberg offering a free service to assist with evaluations.
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Why I’m teaching kids science through the sport of rowing

Elizabeth A. Barton, associate professor of research, wrote an article for The Conversation about her research in combining the sport of rowing with a new curriculum that teaches middle and high school students science and mathematical concepts. Working with the Detroit Boat Club Crew, overseen by the nonprofit Friends of Detroit Rowing, Barton’s innovative approach is tackling two areas of concern for Detroit youths: promoting physically active lifestyles and preparing youth for successful careers in scientific and technological fields. Barton wrote: “Rowing leans heavily on STEM concepts commonly found in the fields of mathematics, physics and kinesiology. Through the sport, our curriculum covers works from the famous Greek mathematician Archimedes up through NASA engineer Katherine Johnson. For example, potential and kinetic energy, boat velocity and rowers’ mass are strategies for teaching essential concepts. Promoting critical thinking skills, problem-solving and innovation through STEM education is necessary for job creation and retention for youth in the 21st century. Physical activity and participation in sports such as rowing is essential for mental and physical health and well-being. We hope that fusing the components of STEM and rowing will result in an engaging educational experience, healthier youth and future careers in high-demand fields.”
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Can ‘microscholarships’ steer student behavior?

Colleges have a pretty good idea of the student behaviors that are associated with retention. How can they encourage students to do those things? A company called RaiseMe is pitching a new approach: Colleges can use its platform to offer students “microscholarships,” or relatively small credits toward their bill, in return for completing such tasks. On Friday, RaiseMe announced that it’s conducting a pilot project on student-success microscholarships with Wayne State University. This year, participating freshmen at Wayne State can earn $10 to $50 a pop for activities like attending a campus arts or athletics event or taking a study-skills workshop. The total they earn — capped at $500 — will be subtracted from their college bill next fall. RaiseMe conducted a smaller pilot at Wayne State over the summer to see if a similar approach could reduce the number of students who “melted,” or did not enroll as planned. Wayne State, for one, is under no illusion that there’s a silver bullet for student success. For years the university has labored to improve its six-year graduation rate, which stood at just 28 percent in 2012. The university’s leaders want to see a six-year graduation rate of 50 percent by 2020, said Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment management, and it’s getting close. To achieve that level of progress, Wayne State has tried just about everything: overhauling its advising system and how it awards scholarships, using predictive analytics and a chatbot system, offering emergency grants and providing a food pantry. “It there is a practice out there,” Medley said, “then we want to make sure we’re doing that practice, and doing it well.” The university has had a good experience with RaiseMe on the admissions side, Medley said. Of the 2,968 admissions deposits the university received for the fall, 879 came from students who had used the platform. Of those, 515 came from students who had learned of the university from RaiseMe. More than anything, Medley said, RaiseMe helps Wayne State signal its interest in students who may have thought that a four-year college was out of reach — while there’s still time for those students to take steps to prepare. For current students, Medley said, the program could help “socially norm” the sorts of behaviors that the university knows are linked to student success. Ideally, Medley said, she’d like to see microscholarships cover the university’s annual tuition increases for students. If more students are retained, the university can make up the difference in volume. Still, she said, the effort is not a replacement for anything else the university is trying. “We’ve got 15 irons in the fire,” Medley said. “This is the 16th.”
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What the Jeffrey Epstein case reveals about female sex offenders

Wayne State University professors in the School of Social Work Poco Kernsmith, Erin B. Comartin and Sheryl Kubiak, dean, wrote a piece for The Conversation about the importance of understanding sex offenses perpetrated by women in light of the recent indictment of Jeffrey Epstein for sex trafficking. Epstein allegedly did not act alone. In a variety of court filings, some of his female associates, most notably Ghislaine Maxwell, have been depicted as instrumental in his sexual encounters. None of them has been criminally charged. “We have studied women who have been convicted of sexual assault, abuse and human trafficking, as well as public attitudes toward sex offenders. Our research, and that of others, shows the similarities and differences between male and female sexual offenders.” In conclusion, the authors wrote: “We believe that introducing prevention programs that specifically address women as potential perpetrators may be effective in helping to prevent some abuses, such as those alleged in the Epstein cases.”
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Data dump points task force toward areas of potential change when it comes to state’s jails

A group of lawmakers, judges, and law enforcement is starting to get a better idea of who is in Michigan’s jails and why. The Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration met Friday and got their first data dump from the PEW Charitable Trusts. PEW is working on collecting jail, court and arrest data from across the state to help the task force come up with recommendations for improvement. The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at Wayne State University also presented the findings to the state task force. They found that almost half of the people released from jail in Michigan, are discharged after business hours. Experts say that creates problems for people who need mental health or substance abuse treatment. Sheryl Kubiak, School of Social Work dean and director of the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, worked on the study. She said they studied jails in ten counties, and they found more than 43-percent of people released from jail are released between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. “So, if you can imagine somebody who is being discharged at 12:01 or 8 p.m., trying to connect with services is much more difficult,” she told the task force. The task force was created earlier this year to study’s Michigan’s jail system. It plans to have recommendations for improvements to the state’s jail system by January 9.
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Make Your Date Detroit delivers results

Detroit has one of the worst (highest) preterm birth and infant mortality rates in the country, equal to that of some third world countries. With a preterm birth rate of 14.5 percent, Detroit earned an “F” among major U.S. cities for premature births according to the 2018 Premature Birth Report Card from the March of Dimes, the nation’s leading maternal and infant health nonprofit organization. Research has shown that disparities such as racial inequity, poverty, stress, food insecurity, lack of education, and limited access to transportation or health care can contribute to poor health outcomes for mothers and babies. In efforts to quell this epidemic, the city of Detroit has welcomed several initiatives geared towards reducing the city’s infant mortality rate. One such initiative is the Make Your Date Detroit program. Make Your Date Detroit is a Wayne State University organization that is fighting to turn the tide against premature births in Detroit. “African American infants are at a 50 percent greater risk of preterm birth compared to white infants. As a result, African American infants are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants,” says Marisa Rodriquez, director of strategic operations of the Office of Women’s Health at Wayne State University. “African American women are three to four times more likely to die in pregnancy than white mothers. Hispanic mothers and infants are also at greater risk when compared to white women. There are tests and treatments that exist to reduce preterm birth, but many pregnant women do not have access to them. Our program works to make these lifesaving approaches available. What our program and others provide is important in the fight to reduce the very substantial racial and ethnic health disparities that are seen in pregnancy.” Rodriquez says that the Make Your Date program has already begun saving infant lives in a short period. “Make Your Date has been so successful that participating mothers are 37 percent less likely to deliver at under 32 weeks and 28 percent are less likely to deliver at under 34 weeks,” she said. “In a city with such high rates of preterm birth and infant mortality, these results are remarkable. We are very proud that women are delivering healthy babies as a result of this program.”  
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WSU Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies kicks off National Hispanic Heritage Month

As a kickoff to National Hispanic Heritage Month, Wayne State University's Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS) recently hosted its 48th Anniversary & Celebration. The capacity crowd at El Kiosko Banquet Hall was on hand to recognize accomplished students and community leaders. Chuck Stokes, WXYZ editorial and public affairs director, served as emcee. Jorge Chinea, director of CLLAS, put together the special event.
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10,000 counselors and 150,000 clients with mental health issues could be impacted by new proposal

Much of the mental health field is worried by the State Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) move to reduce the number of counselors who could diagnose conditions like depression, anxiety, addiction and PTSD. It would impact both clients and their counselors. "Given the prevalence rates of mental health concerns in the United States and Michigan today, this is something that would impact literally every family in Michigan," said Scott Branson, an assistant professor in the counselor program at Wayne State University. The proposal would also prevent counselors from being reimbursed by insurance companies for their work. "The amount of clients who would lose mental health services would be astronomical. This is not a good time for that," said Shirley Mack, the clinical director of counseling at Wayne State University. In response to the threat, a Republican representative in the House has introduced a bill that would preserve the scope of the profession and how they operate. Professionals are urging residents to contact their representatives to support counselors.
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Detroit students leave the city for suburban schools that aren’t much better

Detroit students who leave the city to get an education end up enrolled at schools with slightly higher test scores. But that may not be enough of an advantage given some other negative factors associated with that move. Researchers at Wayne State University who have been studying student mobility in Detroit say the suburban schools for which students leave are more likely to have higher discipline rates, more new teachers and higher teacher turnover. Those other factors “may counteract the benefits of going to a school with slightly better test scores,” said Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, an assistant professor of education at Wayne State. Lenhoff, along with Associate Professor Ben Pogodzinski, recently released two reports on student mobility. One was based on research on students who leave the city, while the other was based on research on movement in the city. The two studied student data from the 2010-11 school year through the 2017-18 school year. The research raised concerns about the 26,000 children who commute to schools outside Detroit and the many more who move within the city during and between school years. That frequent movement, one report noted, “has created an unstable learning environment for thousands of Detroit resident students, exacerbating many of the challenges faced by students and schools in the city.”
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Michigan sees spike in children poisoned by marijuana edibles

More children are getting their hands on marijuana edibles in Michigan -- and for toddlers, the effects can be life-threatening. Reports of intoxication in pediatric patients from marijuana edibles to the Michigan Poison Center spiked in 2018, said Dr. Cynthia Aaron, medical director for the center at Wayne State University. That's the year that Michigan saw its first retail sales of medical marijuana products -- and that voters agreed to legalize recreational marijuana. Though commercial sales of adult-use marijuana have yet to launch in Michigan, more and more children are coming into contact with THC-infused products like gummies, cookies and chocolate bars. There were six cases of children who ate a marijuana edible in 2017 -- and 46 cases in 2018, according to data from the Michigan Poison Center. So far this year, 59 children exposed to marijuana edibles have been reported to the center. The reports typically concern two groups: young, toddler-age children and adolescents, Aaron said. The major concern is toddler-age children, Aaron said. "They go unresponsive; many don't breathe," Aaron said. "They're not interacting; they're sleepy… some kids may complain of being dizzy; stumbling around." Though no deaths have been reported from children ingesting marijuana edibles, Aaron said the concerns are serious: some children have spent 24 hours on a breathing machine as a result of exposure. Marijuana edibles are an issue particularly because of the way they are dosed: the package might tell you a dose for an adult is one section of a chocolate bar; or two gummy bears; or half of a cookie. Young children don't see it that way, Aaron said. Aaron said adults should treat marijuana products like any other medication. "This like any other medication in the house -- it really needs to be locked up," Aaron said. "People don't realize how potent they (edibles) are and they don't understand that it's not like smoking or vaping. You don't get your buzz immediately -- it's delayed," Aaron said. "It's a dysphoric trip."
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E-scooters are fast, unregulated and all over Detroit. What could go wrong?

In a rapidly changing Detroit, the scooters have become something else: a symbol of tension about whether the city belongs to newcomers or longtime residents. In a city with chronic problems, the service that appeals mainly to young professionals was rolled out so quickly and with virtually no regulations that a City Council analyst last year wrote that Detroit was “inundated.” The results have often been confusion, annoyance, anger and broken bones as scooter users have shown up by the dozen at Detroit emergency rooms. Rayman Mohamed, a Wayne State University professor of urban studies and planning, said the absence of accepted rules about scooters fuel tensions. “At least there are rules of the road that cars generally follow,” said Mohamed, who occasionally uses a scooter himself.  “And, for the most part, both pedestrians and drivers have a common understanding what those rules are. “I think with scooters we haven’t had time to come to a common understanding about those rules. Instead, the rules are ambiguous and that leaves lots of room for animosity between pedestrians and scooter users.”
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Blind Wayne State student shares inspiring secret to success, gets tattoo to celebrate passing organic chemistry

Any college-level chemistry class can seem difficult. One Wayne State University student, who happens to be blind, took organic chemistry for two semesters. Nicole Kada was born blind but she sees the world in a very inspiring way. “You could be blind and say that you can’t do anything because you can’t see, therefore you just can’t but that’s just making excuses,” she said. The 23-year-old is studying to become a dietitian and one of the courses she must pass is organic chemistry. “Organic chemistry is all drawing structures and molecules, it’s basically an art class, times ten,” Kada said. But if you can’t see or draw, how do you approach this class? She uses special paper and a Braille computer that helps her identify different shapes. “Plastic paper that you put on a drawing board and you write with this pen and it raises it up in Braille so I can feel the molecules,” Kada said. The student says she had to study much harder than other students to understand what was being taught in two semesters. She met with a tutor every day for hours and it paid off. She got two A's for the year. “Most proudest moments and happiest too,” Kada said. To celebrate, she got a tattoo of a molecule to be a permanent reminder of perseverance. “When my kids tell me they can’t do something, I’m going to show them my tattoo and tell them yes you can because I can do it and I can’t see.” Kada will be graduating next year but she hopes her story will inspire others. “As soon as you remove limitations, then you can accomplish anything,” she said.