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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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Michigan Mobility Institute begins crafting curriculum in partnership with Wayne State

Michigan Mobility Institute executive director Jessica Robinson says the process of creating a first-of-its-kind Master of Mobility degree is "well underway," thanks to the institute's new partnership with Wayne State University. The institute made headlines earlier this year when it announced its intention to create the high-level educational credential in mobility. Robinson says Wayne State's College of Engineering was an ideal inaugural educational partner to collaborate with in creating the coursework and formal structure for the degree. Wayne State's existing dual focus on both cutting-edge research work and connecting its grads to jobs in the field also is a plus. WSU professors are already working on classes that are applicable to next-generation mobility careers, which will form an important base upon which to build a regimen of highly specialized mobility coursework. Wayne State will provide the Michigan Mobility Institute's physical campus for the time being. Other space needs may arise with time, and if they do Robinson says the institute will work with WSU and other partners to create them.
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Can Mike Duggan demolish his way to a safer Detroit? Studies say maybe

Two studies — one from researchers at the University of Michigan and Harvard University and the other from Wayne State University — suggest the nearly 19,000 building demolitions in Detroit since 2014 have reduced nearby gun-related crimes. The studies, though, aren’t conclusive, and come as federal funding for the demos, which have cost some $250 million, is winding down. Duggan plans to ask voters in 2020 to approve a $200 million bond issue to continue the demolitions, saying he wants the city to be blight-free by 2024. The most recent study – the U-M/Harvard review – found that neighborhoods with a larger proportion of non-Hispanic white residents had more demolitions. And the Wayne State authors late last year noted the possibility of “diminishing returns.” While “concentrated demolitions” are linked with crime reduction, “we still need to answer whether razing Detroit is actually raising Detroit,” authors wrote. The studies follow similar research by Wayne State University last year.  For every three demolitions, violent and property crimes fell by about 1 percent, the study found. Because most census block groups in the study saw nearly 11 demolitions in the time period, the demolition efforts drove down crime overall about 3 percent, the study concluded. Like the U-M and Harvard researchers, Wayne researchers found no significant change in drug crimes, though it’s unclear why.
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Anti-smoking advocates fear new age-21 law won’t curb teen tobacco use

Legislators and public-health officials are celebrating a recent rise in Ohio’s smoking age as a triumph in the battle against teenage smoking. Anti-smoking advocates, on the other hand, worry that the new age limit will discourage cities and towns from adopting the strict regulatory approach that they argue is more effective in the fight against teen tobacco use. Advocates worry that police, with bigger problems to handle than smoking among youths, will leave age limits on tobacco purchases unenforced. Jeff Stephens, government relations director in Ohio for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, approved of the state raising its tobacco age, but he said the risk of a retailer losing its license is the best way to keep stores from selling to young people. There is research to support both approaches. Yale University health policy professor Abigail Friedman conducted research that found underage smokers often acquire tobacco and vaping products from adult friends. Other studies came to similar conclusions, said Wayne State University School of Medicine professor Daniel Ouellette, who has reviewed research on teen smoking. That suggests that raising the age limit is a good way to deter smoking by minors, he said.
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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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Can experts determine who might be a mass killer? 3 questions answered

Wayne State University Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Arash Javanbakht answered some questions about mental illness, mass murder and whether it’s possible to prevent horrific shootings. Is a person who commits mass murder mentally ill? What is the difference between extremism and mental illness? And, are there ‘red flag’ behaviors that can indicate risk? According to Javanbakht, the good news is that, to prevent a violent person from access to firearms, we do not need an established diagnosis of a mental illness. The history of unreasonable violence itself is enough. These measures may not prevent some of the mass shootings, but they can help with a lot of murders and deaths by suicide.”
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Guns and mental illness: A psychiatrist explains the complexities

Arash Javanbakht, assistant professor of psychiatry, wrote a piece for The Conversation talking about the complexities of mental illness and guns. “President Donald Trump called for reform of mental health laws on the heels of two deadly shootings that claimed the lives of at least 31 people and left a grief-stricken country in disbelief. The president, saying that “hatred and mental illness pulls the trigger, not the gun,” also called for better identification of people with mental illness and, in some cases, “involuntary confinement” of them. These sentiments are similar to comments that Trump and a number of other politicians have made previously…In this debate, many questions arise that those discussing mental illness and gun violence may not even think about: What do we mean by mental illness? Which mental illness? What would be the policies to keep guns away from the potentially dangerous mentally ill? Most of these questions remain unanswered during these discussions.”
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Michigan doctors reach out to LGBTQ community to narrow health disparities

Roughly 1 in 6 LBGTQ people nationwide report being discriminated against when visiting a doctor or health clinic, while 1 in 5 say they’ve avoided health care because of discrimination fears, according to a 2017 survey of  lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer adults. That, in turn, deepens health disparities over a lifetime as patients skip screenings and get less help for chronic conditions and poor health habits, according to an overview of health research by the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. From public health clinics to large hospital systems, Michigan’s health care industry is reaching out to close such disparities, from updating forms to accommodate genders beyond “male and female” to adding LGBTQ-specific services. Among the most tangible efforts is the Corktown Health Center in Detroit, which opened in 2017 as Michigan’s first nonprofit health center with a focus on LGBTQ patients. It’s also one of only a few dozen such centers nationwide. As vice chair of education at Wayne State University’s Department of Internal Medicine, which helped establish Corktown Health Center,  Dr. Diane Levine is helping Wayne State’s medical school incorporate coursework, clinical teaching, and even residency slots at Corktown so that medical students today are more aware of the needs of LGBTQ patients tomorrow. The curriculum will mean that new medical students will go from “about two hours” of focus on LGBTQ health in the classroom, to about two dozen hours, she said. Among her presentations, she said, is the genderbread person, to prompt discussion on the interplay of the mind, heart, and reproductive organs. Understanding these basics, she said, is a first step in understanding a patient, she said. “And that,” she said, “is really Doctoring 101.”
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U.S. Government targets foreign researchers

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) have accused 180 foreign scientists of undisclosed financial conflicts of interest and other wrongdoing and have referred at least 18 of them to federal investigators for possible debarment, raising concerns about disruption of international medical research collaborations. Most cases involved Chinese researchers, but concerns also exist about scientists from other countries, such as Russia, Iran and Turkey. “I was surprised by the extent of the allegations”, said M. Roy Wilson (Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA), co-chair of a NIH working group on foreign influences on research integrity. “Scientific collaboration is a keystone of biomedical research and helps tremendously; I worry about an overreaction that could stifle continued progress.” “Universities will likely begin auditing or spot-checking scientists' disclosures, but it is important that be done across the board without targeting researchers from any particular country,” Wilson said.
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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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Understanding the ‘why’ of higher water levels in the Great Lakes

Climate scientists may not be shouting from the housetops when it comes to the effect of global warming on water levels in the Great Lakes, but they’re also not saying that everything will be fine. Reaction to a recent study produced by Canada’s federal environmental agency asserts that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, and that the country’s northern regions are warming three times as fast. The impact on Michigan has much to do with water levels, which are impacted by many factors, including precipitation, the rate of evaporation and water temperatures. Shirley Papuga, associate professor in the geology and environmental science program at Wayne State, referred to the work done by one of her undergraduate students, Alex Eklund, who has plotted out data on 20-year average temperatures. “For 2019, for instance, compared to the 20-year average minimum temperatures, those were lower in the winter,” said Papuga. “But the minimum temperatures are actually higher now in the spring and summer, which suggests a seasonality is in play.”
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How organized labor can reverse decades of decline

Marick Masters, professor of business and adjunct professor of political science, wrote an article for The Conversation about the future of organized labor in an ever-changing market. “Collective bargaining has long been one of organized labor’s most attractive selling points. In its simplest form, collective bargaining involves an organized body of employees negotiating wages and other conditions of employment. In other words, unions are saying: Join us, and we’ll bargain with your boss for better pay. Unfortunately, traditional collective bargaining is no longer an effective strategy for labor union growth. That’s because employers and many states have made it incredibly hard for workers to form a union, which is necessary for workers to bargain collectively. My own research suggests unions should pursue alternative ways to organize, such as by focusing on more forceful worker advocacy and offering benefits like health care. Doing so would help unions swell in size, putting them in a stronger position to secure and defend the collective bargaining rights that helped build America’s middle class.”
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Detroit Democratic debate: Local experts name winners, losers

The first of two scheduled debates in Detroit among the wide field of Democratic presidential candidates proved long and feisty. The Free Press asked expert debate coaches for their spot analysis and hot takes on who among the initial group of 10 contenders triumphed or floundered Tuesday night on the Fox Theatre stage. Who won the performance? "If winner is defined as those who are going to move on to the September debates and have solidified their top 5 status, I would say (Massachusetts Senator) Elizabeth Warren and (South Bend mayor) Pete Buttigieg," said Kelly Young, director of forensics (speech and debate) at Wayne State University. Buttigieg "did a good job of framing (himself) as above the fray in a lot of the debates...he didn't have a lot of moments when he went at somebody on the stage, and he's talking about how we need an inter-generational change or these problems are just going to constantly replicate.” Who had the worst performance? Former U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland. "I think he certainly lost. I think every time he went after one of them, particularly Elizabeth Warren, he lost badly. But maybe he is a candidate who benefits from any attention — good or bad,” Kelly said. Best moment or moments? “The back-and-forths between Warren versus Delaney. Also, the thoughtful answers from author Marianne Williamson. "She (Williamson) is the one candidate who I thought had the best discussion of Michigan when she talked about Flint, and then used that as a moment to expand on much deeper problems nationally."
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Midwives and nurse-midwives may underestimate dangers of prenatal alcohol use

Alcohol use during pregnancy can have harmful consequences on the fetus including restricted growth, facial anomalies, and neurobehavioral problems. No amount of alcohol use during pregnancy has been proven safe. Yet a recent survey of midwives and nurses who provide prenatal care showed that 44% think one drink per occasion is acceptable while pregnant, and 38% think it is safe to drink alcohol during at least one trimester of pregnancy. "Many prenatal care providers remain inadequately informed of the risks of drinking during pregnancy," said John Hannigan, Ph.D., one of the study's authors and a professor of at Wayne State University's Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute. 
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Universities across Michigan attract Chaldean students with an inclination for business

Looking at Alaa Kishmish’s current career trajectory, one would never guess that the business major on the cusp of graduating was once pursuing a career in anything other than business. With a refined acumen for all things business, Kishmish, 24, is looking at graduating in December 2019 from the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University with a bachelor’s in business administration. The switch from pharmacy to business came after he took on a part time bank teller position at a local bank in Sterling Heights. In his post as a teller Kishmish’s passion for business presented itself and in turn, flourished. “My journey at Wayne State has been extremely rewarding. I have had the opportunity to meet and connect with so many different people that I would not have otherwise met,” he explained. “Some of my closest friends, colleagues, and people I network with I met through the school of business. I would not have been able to do any of this if I had not been at Wayne State; it has provided me with several opportunities.”
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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.