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Late Detroit News editor Wolman honored at Rosa Parks Scholarship ceremony

The late Detroit News editor and publisher Jonathan Wolman was honored Thursday afternoon by the awarding of a scholarship in his name during the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation luncheon at Wayne State University. Every year, the foundation presents $2,000 scholarships bearing the name of Parks, the late civil rights activist and longtime Detroit resident, to Michigan high school seniors. This year, an additional award was handed out in honor of Wolman, who died in April at age 68. Kim Trent, president of the foundation, said she was grateful for Wolman's commitment to supporting the foundation and the scholarship. "He was not a native Detroiter, but he embedded himself into the fabric of southeast Michigan and made sure the paper he helmed also stayed connected to the community and served in meaningful ways," she said
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Jewish Ferndale explores anti-Semitism, hate

Understanding and confronting the recent rise in anti-Semitism and other forms of hate was explored recently at Jewish Ferndale’s bi-monthly discussion series. Local journalist Julie Edgar moderated a conversation featuring Howard Lupovitch, history professor and director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University, and Carolyn Normandin, ADL Michigan regional director. “All anti-Semitism is reprehensible,” Lupovitch said. The harder anti-Semitism of the right is perpetrated by xenophobic, white nationalists, such as those who marched and chanted against Jews in Charlottesville, Va. He said homegrown white terrorists carried out mass shootings of Jews at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and Chabad of Powway near San Diego. The left’s anti-Semitism is “not as dangerous and menacing as anti-Semitism on the right. They are not the same,” Lupovitch said. He contended that “if the Israel-Palestinian conflict was resolved, much of the anti-Semitism (on the left) would dissolve.” Lupovitch also suggested “the rhetoric of the last couple of years has emboldened haters to be more confrontational.”
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Study finds treating inmates’ mental health reduces their risk of returning to jail

A new study offers a solution to the problems of jail overcrowding and recidivism in Michigan: Invest more in mental health and drug treatment. Wayne State University’s Center for Behavioral Health and Justice spent five years reviewing treatment and jail-diversion programs in 10 counties. Researchers found that people who got treatment for mental health disorders were less likely to return to jail. “Training law enforcement to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness is really important,” says Sheryl Kubiak, dean of WSU’s School of Social Work who led the study. “When we did pre- and post-interviews, officers would tell us things like they didn’t believe in mental illness, they just thought it was bad behavior. If we can decrease the number of people who go into costly confinement and deter them to treatment, I think we will do a lot better.” 
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Former radio talk show host now a ‘LawStart’ student at Wayne State

Eric Decker once reached a large audience as a radio talk show host under the name Eric Thomas. He launched his career at Banana 101.5, a rock radio station in Flint, then worked all over the country, including several years blogging and hosting at 97.1 The Ticket sports radio station in Southfield where he covered the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons. Now Decker hopes to reach people as an attorney. Recently wrapping up his 1L year at Wayne State University Law School, he is clerking this summer at Maiorana PC, a small patent law firm in St. Clair Shores. “Radio was certainly good preparation for the public speaking aspect of law, but I really benefitted from all the show prep I did over the years,” he says. “The time I spent researching in radio was a good warm up.” A political science major at WSU after studying at Mott Community College and Oakland Community College, Decker is one of two “LawStart” students who were the first in the program to be accepted into Wayne Law. The highly competitive program allows students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to earn both their bachelor's degree and law degree from Wayne State in six years, instead of the usual seven.  
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How medical providers talk about death with teenagers facing life-threatening illnesses

A diagnosis of a life-threatening illness is an enormous shock wave to any family. But there are extra challenges involved when that diagnosis happens for a teen or young adult. While their friends are getting ready for the prom or for college, they will be going through treatment and having tough conversations with family and doctors. Cynthia Bell is an assistant professor and research scientist at the Wayne State University College of Nursing, and has studied end-of-life conversations with teens and young adults. 
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Can You Reshape Your Brain's Response To Pain?

Around 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Most of us think of pain as something that arises after a physical injury, accident or damage from an illness or its treatment. But researchers are learning that, in some people, there can be another source of chronic pain. Repeated exposure to psychological trauma, or deep anxiety or depression — especially in childhood — can leave a physical imprint on the brain that can make some people more vulnerable to chronic pain, scientists say. EAET is a different sort of psychotherapy. It’s one of several behavioral therapies (among other interventions) included in a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services titled “Pain Management Best Practices.” According to the report, published May 9, “Research indicates that EAET has a positive impact on pain intensity, pain interference, and depressive symptoms.” EAET was developed in 2011 by psychologist Mark Lumley at Wayne State University and his colleague Dr. Howard Schubiner. 
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Using Detroiters' ZIP codes to predict stroke risk

Kim Trent, Wayne State University Board of Governors chair, wrote a piece about stroke risk and current research involving our region. “Wayne State University researcher and Detroit Medical Center emergency room doctor Phillip Levy told policymakers attending the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference he hopes data he gleaned from emergency room visits to the Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Hospital can be used to inform smarter approaches to the cardiovascular risks facing Detroiters. A typical resident of the 48236 ZIP code in Grosse Pointe can expect to live to age 82. But a person who lives less than 10 miles away in Detroit’s 48201 ZIP code has a life expectancy of only 69 years. Michigan ranks 42nd out of the 50 states in cardiovascular health, with 298 stroke or heart disease related deaths per 100,000 residents each year. The national average is 257 cardiovascular-related deaths per 100,000 residents. Levy is optimistic that gathering information like this on a data platform will allow researchers, public health experts, and physicians to explore links between health outcomes and factors such as employment, environment, race, income and education. Levy thinks data platforms like the one he touted on Mackinac Island may help us better understand the role that factors like racism play in the development of hypertension and other medical conditions. “Every time I put those maps up,  I hear that gasp in the audience and  people are just astonished that that’s such a problem,” said the physician. “You want to take it to another level," he says. “You have all the things that an individual can do, but [the question is] how can we from a policy or community health perspective change some of the structural things that are involved?”
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The epic political battle over the legacy of the suffragettes

The movement for suffrage spanned from the mid-19th century to the early 20th, and was advanced by women with a range of political priorities and viewpoints. They were progressives, in the broadest sense of the word: They believed in pushing for social change and using politics for the betterment of humanity. Yet many of their views might seem shocking today, especially to Americans who identify with the same “progressive” movement of which suffrage activists were a part. By and large, white American suffragists were racist, arguing that giving the vote to white women would cancel out the influence of newly enfranchised black men. This was as much a matter of political strategy as personal prejudice, says Liette Gidlow, associate professor at Wayne State University who is working on an upcoming book on this subject. Poll taxes, literacy tests, and so-called grandfather clauses kept many black men away from the polls in the years following the Civil War, even after the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment gave them the vote. “Many leading … white suffragists were deeply afraid that … [if] the Susan B. Anthony amendment”—which proposed women’s suffrage—“would lead to the return of African Americans ... to the polls, that would damage support for the amendment,” Gidlow said. Even after the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, many states passed laws limiting the voting rights of black Americans, including black women.
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Wayne State's Hunter Brown goes in fifth round to Astros

Wayne State right-hander Hunter Brown saw the pre-Major League Baseball projections, that had him a top-100 prospect. But he tried not to get caught up in that as one pick after another went by, first Monday night, then mid-day Tuesday. The patience paid off when the Houston Astros took him in the fifth round. "Honestly, you know, you wait your whole life, as long as you play baseball starting in Little League, to hopefully sit there and hear your name called," Brown said. "And you see your name go up on the screen. It's a pretty exciting feeling. It's nothing like you've ever felt. It was awesome." Brown, 20, was taken with the 166th pick in the draft. Interestingly, Wayne State's best showing in the draft was another right-hander, Anthony Bass, who was selected in 2008 — with the 165th pick. "So he went one ahead, huh?" Brown said, laughing. "We were trying to find out what pick he went. We knew he went in the fifth round. Anthony's great, he's had a big-league career. And he's been kind of a mentor to me, this year especially. So, hey, 165 or 166, or anything range, it's awesome." Bass, 31, is in his eighth season in the major leagues, now with the Seattle Mariners. But over the offseason, during a fall scout day on campus and during Bass' annual camp at Wayne State, he made sure to pass along his cell number to Wayne State coach Ryan Kelley — to give to Brown.
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Students call him ‘Super Stanley’

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson went to Harvard Medical School with Samuel Stanley Jr. and stayed in touch over the years as part of the small group of university presidents who were also medical doctors. “I think it’s an absolutely outstanding pick,” Wilson said about MSU’s selection of Stanley. Wilson has the unique perspective of someone who knows both Stanley and Lou Anna Simon, the MSU president forced out because of the Nassar scandal. “I like Lou Anna, but in terms of personality, (Simon and Stanley) are very, very different," he said. “Sam is warmer. He’ll engage you in conversation, and Lou Anna is just not that way. It’s not that she’s dismissive but she’s more analytical.” Wilson said that Stanley’s demeanor has been shaped by being a physician and working with patients in vulnerable situations. “In general, physicians get into the profession because they want to help people, and they tend to be empathetic and compassionate,” he said. “Sam has those qualities, and that’s going to be helpful in going forward at MSU.” Stanley’s reputation as a good listener also will help, Wilson said. “He’s very smart, but he’s also very understated. He’s not going to overtalk you."
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Wayne State develops novel geocoded map to improve health outcomes

If you live in southeast Michigan, your ZIP code may determine how long you live. Live in the 48236 ZIP of Grosse Pointe and at birth you can expect to live to an average of 82 years. Just a few short miles away, however, if you’re born and live in the Detroit ZIP of 48201, you can shave 13 years off that respectable mark. The 13-year loss can be attributed to numerous factors, including a lack of access to healthy food, health care and safe places to exercise. Resource limitations and socioeconomic disparities in the 48201 ZIP code also contribute to soaring levels of toxic stress and poor health. That stress often manifests in the form of disproportionate levels of high blood pressure, which, if uncontrolled, brings on a host of illness guaranteed to shorten lifespan. That’s the bad news.
The good news, as attendees of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac Policy Conference heard Thursday morning, is that a radically new form of mapping health data by census tract may give policymakers, researchers and health care providers the information they need to design targeted efforts to improve health in areas with a long history of worse outcomes. The goal, said Phillip Levy, assistant vice president of Translational Science and Clinical Research Innovation for Wayne State University, is to develop a precision approach to population health, guided by data provided by drilling down as far as possible, perhaps even to individual neighborhoods.
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First look at Wayne State’s master plan

Midtown and Detroit are changing fast. Wayne State University is trying to keep up. In August 2018, to help better position itself for these changes, the university began the creation of a new master plan that will shape the future look and function of its campus. It hired the planning firm DumontJanks, which has extensive experience working with universities, to be the lead consultant on the project. The firm and university officials have given a series of public presentations over the last few months. The general shape of the plan is becoming clear, but there’s still many more details yet to be released. The plan itself is not prescriptive—there’s no timeline and the recommendations are largely form-based that can be implemented as resources become available. “This is a framework that will allow us to have flexibility and includes a lot of data so we can understand impacts,” said Ashley Flintoff, director of planning and space management for Wayne State. “We’ll soon have a tool to make better, informed decisions.” Several developments on the campus are already underway and were decided on prior to this planning effort, such as the massive Gateway Performance Complex, relocation of the Mackenzie House, and a new basketball arena built in partnership with the Detroit Pistons. However these plans roll out over the next months and years, it’s clear Wayne State will be in a much better position to grow and adapt alongside the city.
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Addressing mental health key to improving criminal justice system

Diverting individuals with mental health disorders into treatment programs rather than simply jailing them not only significantly reduces the jail population but also lowers the chances of recidivism among offenders, according to a five-year study conducted by the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at Wayne State University’s School of Social Work and released by the state of Michigan. According to the study, 54 percent of all individuals booked into jails in the target counties reported some variation of a substance abuse problem, while 45 percent described themselves as housing insecure and 42 percent said they had been recently incarcerated. Meanwhile, 34 percent had some indication of mental illness. “More than just a collection of data, this report offers us an early roadmap to drastic improvements in how our criminal justice system handles issues of mental illness and substance abuse,” said Sheryl Kubiak, dean of the Wayne State School of Social Work and the principal investigator for the study. “In addressing these issues, we also give ourselves opportunity to address many of the problems that these issues underlie, including jail overcrowding, poor access to mental health, and drug treatment and recidivism.” Drug abuse presented an equally thorny problem for many jails, said Kubiak. “Most jails have little therapy or protocols for inmates suffering withdrawals,” she said. “Some just hand out blankets and Gatorade and think that’s enough.” Kubiak concludes: “As the study proves, when we simply lock up mentally ill or addicted individuals with no real plan to get them help, we’re only prolonging and exacerbating problems that we have the tools to effectively address.”  
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Howard Stern talks childhood trauma, trauma psychiatrist talks about lasting effects

Arash Javanbakht, assistant professor of psychiatry, wrote a piece for The Conversation about the growing interest in trauma and childhood trauma. “A child’s brain is a sponge for learning about how the world works and who they themselves are. We humans have an evolutionary advantage in having the ability to trust the older and learn from them about the world. That leads to cumulative knowledge and protection against adversity, about which only the experienced know. A child absorbs the patterns of perceiving the world, relating to others and to the self by learning from adults. But when the initial environment is unusually tough and unfriendly, then a child’s perception of the world may form around violence, fear, lack of safety and sadness. Brains of adults who experience childhood adversity, or even poverty, are more prone to detecting danger, at the cost of ignoring the positive or neutral experiences.” Javanbakht continued: “Childhood trauma is more common than one would think: Up to two-thirds of children experience at least one traumatic event. These include serious medical illness or injury, firsthand experience of violence or sexual abuse or witnessing them, neglect, bullying and the newest addition to the list: mass shootings.

Learning to love (or at least leverage) technology

A client suffers from one of the oldest and most common fears: arachnophobia. The mere thought of a spider causes her anxiety, and she often has a friend check a room for spiders before she enters. She wants to get help, but she lives in a remote area without access to a clinical expert. Could the use of augmented reality help the client overcome this phobia and actually touch a tarantula? Arash Javanbakht, an assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Stress, Trauma & Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC) at Wayne State University, has found that it can. At STARC, Javanbakht uses augmented reality along with telepsychiatry as a method of exposure therapy for clients with phobias.
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The challenges of the trailing spouse

Annmarie Cano, professor of psychology and associate provost for faculty development and faculty success, wrote a piece about the career challenges she faced as a “trailing spouse.” Cano wrote: ”Here are just a few ideas for those hiring at institutions as to how they can help achieve these goals. Offer dual-career policies and information. There’s no question that institutions must deal with a number of challenges when hiring one or both members of a dual-career couple. It’s not an easy process for them or the couples themselves. But the reality is that more than a third of faculty members at research universities have academic partners. Be open to what couples can bring, including diversity. Rather than narrowing the conversation to whether the partner’s scholarly area is a good fit for the department, consider the total package. Be mindful that how you treat one, you treat the other. Dual-career couples are people, too… Clearly developed dual-career policies, meaningful efforts to increase diversity and investment in the development of faculty and department chair leadership skills are needed to continue to improve the climate for dual-career couples and access to higher education careers for women and minorities.
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'Consensus builder' Stanley faces task of healing MSU

Michigan State University's next president is a skilled physician, nationally renowned researcher and a uniter who can help the university emerge from the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal, former colleagues said Tuesday. Those who have worked with Samuel Stanley Jr. hailed the former Stony Brook University president's broad range of academic, administrative, medical and research experience and his compassionate demeanor. Stanley, 65, was named president Tuesday by the MSU Board of Trustees after a decade-long stint as president of Stony Brook, a 17,364-student university on suburban Long Island in New York state. Stanley’s upcoming tenure, which begins Aug. 1, means that Michigan’s Big Three universities will all be headed by medical doctors. Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson and University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel are also trained as physicians. Wilson was a 1980 classmate of Stanley’s at Harvard Medical School and often played basketball with him in the university’s Vanderbilt Hall. Wilson also recently worked with Stanley on two national panels. One was a 2018 NCAA symposium titled “An ounce of prevention may keep you out of court.” Wilson also co-chaired a National Institutes of Health committee in 2018 for the director on Foreign Influences on Biomedical Research, with Stanley as one of the members. The WSU president spoke of Stanley with high regard, describing him as “compassionate” and “down-to-earth.” “MSU made an outstanding choice,” he said. “He’s a very smart guy. More than that, he is really well-rounded. He is not just a scientist. He is really well-rounded in the humanities.” Wilson added he felt Stanley will be able to navigate the university community through the turbulence of the Nassar fallout. “He’s very approachable,” he said. “I think the victims of sexual assault will feel like they can approach him in a way that may have not been able to with some other people.”
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High blood pressure is rampant in Michigan. Better data may lead to a cure

“You can throw all the medicines you want at the [hypertension] problem, but if you can’t fix the upstream social determinants, you’ll never solve it,” said Dr. Phillip Levy, an emergency room physician at Detroit Receiving Hospital and cardiovascular researcher who developed the tool. Levy’s work will be presented Thursday at the Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference. If all goes well, the map could one day address health disparities at the street level throughout Michigan, combining neighborhood health data with demographic information such as age, race, demographics, income, insurance coverage, pollutants, access to transportation, fresh food and more. “This is about using information to address adverse health outcomes of the state. We know that heart disease disproportionately affects Detroit, so it makes sense to start there,” he said. Levy’s work is part of an emerging focus in health care on “precision public health, as more practitioners, public health advocates, and even community leaders and businesses better understand that certain demographics and neighborhoods carry more “disease burden” than others.
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Combatting undue foreign influence at U.S. research institutions

Stronger security measures may protect intellectual property, but how high is the cost? Aggressive actions could discourage top talent from coming to the United States. Tighter controls could disrupt collaboration and the free flow of information. But the most commonly cited fear is racial profiling. In its March 2019 issue, Science published a letter from three organizations, including the Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America, expressing concerns about polices that “single out students and scholars of Chinese descent … for scapegoating, stereotyping, and racial profiling.” Chinese American scientists have been wrongfully accused of spying in the past, the letter notes. Even supporters of measures to protect U.S. research worry about unfairly targeting scientists of Asian descent. “As a black male, I’m very sensitive to racial profiling,” says M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S., president of Wayne State University and co-chair of the NIH advisory committee that considered foreign influences. “The vast majority of foreign investigators in this country are contributing to the advancement of science and doing good work. It just so happens that a large proportion of people in this group are of Chinese descent. And we should not overly stigmatize an entire group of people, most of whom are great collaborators, great postdocs, and have no connection whatsoever with anything that could be considered even inadvertent subverting of process and policy.”