Health disparities in the news

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Wayne State to form new pediatrics group, work closely with Henry Ford pediatricians

Wayne State University School of Medicine announced Monday the formation of Wayne Pediatrics, a new clinical service group of the university's medical school, that is intended to replace its longtime pediatrics group, University Pediatricians, which has left Wayne State and signed an affiliation agreement with Central Michigan University. Under the proposal, Wayne Pediatrics would become the clinical arm of the 130-physician Wayne State department of pediatrics, many of whom are also affiliated with 280-member University Pediatricians. Wayne Pediatrics also is discussing a partnership with the pediatrics department of Henry Ford Medical Group that would provide a continuum of primary and specialty pediatric services, said Herman Gray, M.D., chair of the department of pediatrics at Wayne State medical school. Gray said the Henry Ford partnership would also focus on improving the health of children and such social determinants of health as lack of access to quality housing, healthy food and transportation. Last week, a larger affiliation fell through between Henry Ford and Wayne State over a split on the unfolding arrangement by the university board of governors. Both WSU President M. Roy Wilson, M.D., and HFHS CEO Wright Lassiter III said they looked forward to resuming master affiliation talks sometime in the future, but would continue to work together on existing academic and clinical collaborations. The formation of Wayne Pediatrics is expected to cause Wayne State faculty pediatricians, many whom also belong with University Pediatricians, to choose between Wayne State and Central Michigan for their faculty affiliation. University Pediatricians, which is now a private-practice group that is affiliated with DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan, recently signed an affiliation with Central Michigan. It is expected that the UP pediatricians will become full-time faculty members faculty members with the six-year-old Mt. Pleasant medical school.
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Addressing rural Michigan's high infant mortality and poor maternal health

Michigan’s rural areas have high infant mortality and poor maternal health, fueled in part by substance abuse, lack of access to healthy food, and dwindling birthing hospitals and OB-GYNs. The root causes may be different from those in Michigan's urban communities, but the results are the same: Michigan's African-American and American Indian babies are three times likelier than white babies to die in their first year of life. Addiction is one of the biggest challenges for Michigan's rural mothers and infants. In Michigan’s rural areas, more pregnant women smoke cigarettes and abuse opioids than pregnant women in urban areas. "Cigarettes are the most commonly used substance during pregnancy and are at least as powerful a contributor to infant mortality as any of the other substances," says Dr. Steven Ondersma, a professor in Wayne State University's departments of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences and obstetrics and gynecology. 
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Med students learn empathy and skills in Detroit street care programs

The Michigan State Medical School's Detroit Street Care program and Wayne State University's Street Medicine Detroit are helping medical students see past stereotypes to build relationships between homeless people and medical professionals to improve their quality of care, put them in touch with other resources like housing, and overcome some of the structural problems that make being homeless in Detroit especially deadly. In the process, the students themselves are engaging in a form of back to basics medicine that puts patients first. These programs allow medical students to reach out to homeless people on the street, carrying backpacks with medicine and diagnostic equipment, as well as necessities like hats, gloves, and food. They also meet with patients at places like the Tumaini Center, working under the tutelage of other medical students, nurse practitioners and doctors. On the street, they go out with a "peer support specialist," a formerly homeless person who helps them approach people.  
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Carry on John Dingell's legacy by making health care more affordable

Theresa A. Hastert, assistant professor in the Department of Oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine, wrote an op-ed about the need to make healthcare more affordable. Hastert points out: “While Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA have expanded Americans’ access to health insurance coverage, it is no secret that our system has serious problems, and many still have trouble accessing care.” “The most fitting tribute to the late John Dingell, is to continue his decades-long legacy of improving Americans’ health and access to health care. His 60-year career in the House of Representatives included involvement in the most significant health care legislation in our nation’s history, including presiding over the House of Representatives in 1965 when it passed Medicare and sitting next to President Barack Obama when he signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. 
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Improving Detroiters' health is focus of Wayne State summit

Residents of Wayne County are the unhealthiest of Michigan's 83 counties, according to a ranking by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Bridging that disparity was the target of a Wednesday summit at Wayne State University. Participants suggested ways to promote healthy eating, behaviors and environments. But the focus was on disparities affecting Detroit’s population, including asthma, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The university brought together leaders of corporations, health care systems,  community organizations, foundations, policymakers and academics.
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NSF award to provide new insights on how drinking water and public health systems interact

A research team at Wayne State University recently received a four-year, $1.57 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for its project, “Water and Health Infrastructure Resilience and Learning.” The award is part of a multi-institutional $2 million collaborative project funded under NSF’s Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes program.
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Wayne State offers counseling for Muslim women on campus

Wayne State University’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is offering a new service to Muslim women on college campuses. The new group, which will meet weekly, aims to provide a place for women to identify and discuss the issues and struggles of being a Muslim woman on a college campus. Kaifa Alsoofy, a university counselor at Wayne State who came up with the idea for the group, said in her work as a counselor, she’s seen Muslim women face issues like identity struggles and family, cultural or religious expectations.
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Wayne State to host Opioid Awareness Day Sept. 18

The opioid epidemic has devastated families across the nation, prompting Wayne State University to host an informative day on Tuesday, Sept. 18 from noon to 5:30 p.m. to educate others about the misuse, abuse and consequences of opioids. Through this day-long event, the university aims to better understand the scope of this crisis and how it impacts the local community. All students, faculty, staff and community members who are interested in gaining insight on opioids are welcome.
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President Wilson discusses the new Mike Ilitch School of Business on Conversations with WSU

Mildred Gaddis sat down with Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson, and Darrell Dawsey, director of community communications. Earlier this week, President Wilson joined with some of Detroit’s most important business leaders to announce the opening of the Mike Ilitch School of Business, which promises to be an incubator for some of Detroit’s sharpest minds and a boom for our local workforce. 
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Detroit woman builds village for neighborhood

"This is a part of Wayne State Medical School's social mission," said Dr. Jennifer Mendez, the medical school's director of co-curricular programs and assistant professor of internal medicine. "It is a way for our students to apply their classroom knowledge to real-life situations." The Wayne State students also formed an organization to support Auntie Na's this year after being inspired during volunteer efforts during the last school year. It includes about 20 members.
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$1.54 million NIH grant to improve cardiac function in heart failure

With the help of a $1.54 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, a research team from Wayne State University will establish a targeted approach to sustain cardiac function during an energetic crisis and heart failure. Led by Jian-Ping Jin, M.D., Ph.D., professor and William D. Traitel Endowed Chair of Physiology in the School of Medicine at Wayne State, the research team has focused on the area of protein structure-function relationships, particularly on protein engineering to improve muscle and heart functions.