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Wayne State community pushes for vaccine mandate for fall

Another university community is lobbying for a vaccine mandate for those returning to campus in fall. More than 700 Wayne State University professors, staff and students have petitioned the administration to require a coronavirus vaccine for students, faculty and staff to avoid outbreaks and promote safety. Campus leaders presented Wayne State's petition, dated April 8, to President M. Roy Wilson and Provost Laurie Lauzon Clabo two weeks ago and added their support to the university's efforts so far, said Fabrice Smieliauskas, a Wayne State assistant economics professor. But they have not received a formal response. WSU spokesman Matt Lockwood said university officials are surveying students, staff, faculty anonymously to assess the magnitude of who has been vaccinated among its community, which includes 24,000 students who enrolled in winter semester. It also needs to analyze the impact of the incentive the president offered to buy lunch for students if they got vaccinated. “We will consider this data and other COVID-related metrics before we consider taking any additional actions," Lockwood said. Wilson recently said during a radio interview that, "we may be heading into a mandate" but added that the lunch incentive was showing positive results. "I’d like to try to do anything possible to not issue a mandate," said WSU's president.
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Mort Harris, philanthropist and American Axle co-founder, dies at 101

Mort Harris, who co-founded auto industry supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. and earned renown for his philanthropy, has died at 101. Born April 11, 1920, in Detroit, Harris started attending Wayne State University in 1939. During World War II, he was a fighter pilot, flying a B17 bomber on 33 runs over Germany and France, including two on D-Day. After the war, he attended Wayne State University but didn't finish, Harris told The News in 2019.  "I wish I could start all over and get a bachelor's degree in business," he said at the time. Harris eventually turned to industry, joining his uncle's industrial slag company, then buying a metallurgical products firm. After American Axle went public in 1999, he told The News, "I thought, 'OK, now what am I going to do?' I chose philanthropy." He had already frequently contributed to institutions such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Institute of Arts and Michigan Science Center. His name now graces a recreation and fitness Center at Wayne State. In 2017, he gave $10 million to help Wayne Med-Direct, a Wayne State University program that aids admission to an undergraduate honors college and creates a pipeline to medical school.  Harris also had been among the school's top five donors, having also contributed to social work and literacy programs. In 1970, he established the Edith Harris Memorial Scholarship in the School of Social Work in honor of his first wife, joining the Anthony Wayne Society, the university’s highest donor recognition group, as an inaugural member, officials said. With his second wife, Brigitte, he continued to support a lecture series in the School of Social Work and scholarships for students in the College of Engineering, along with the Damon J. Keith Collection at the Law School and other university initiatives. In 2012, they established the Mort Harris Endowed Scholarship Fund in the School of Medicine and the Mort Harris Office for Adult Literacy Endowment Fund with a $5 million gift. Harris also supported many community organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Focus: HOPE, and Detroit Public Television, Wayne State said. In a statement Friday, WSU President M. Roy Wilson described Harris as a humble giver. "Anyone who has reached his incredibly high levels of success could be justifiably proud, but that wasn’t Mort," Wilson said. "Despite his financial success and his many military and civilian honors, Mort was humble and kind, and he would happily opt for a sandwich over a five-star meal because it was the people he was with that mattered most. "Wayne State was the fortunate beneficiary of Mort’s thoughtful generosity, and his substantial gifts were often in support of students in need."
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Detroit's infant mortality rate made a historic drop. Here's why

Detroit's infant mortality rate — once highest in the nation, exceeding many Third World countries — achieved a historic drop in 2019, helping Michigan achieve its lowest infant mortality rate in more than 100 years, according to state health officials. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan noted programs, such as Make Your Date, a collaboration between the city and Wayne State University, and prenatal programs run by Henry Ford Health Center and Ascension St. John Hospital as well as community organizations such as the Black Mothers Breast Feeding Association. Infant mortality is considered the death of an infant before reaching the age of 1. Causes of infant mortality included birth defects, preterm or premature birth, maternal pregnancy complications, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and injuries like suffocation. The greatest cause of infant mortality is premature birth, said Dr. Sonia Hassan, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine who co-founded Wayne State University's Make Your Date program with Duggan in 2014. "It's amazing and great news," said Hassan of Detroit's reduction in infant mortality. "The reduction was for 2018 to 2019, but for years before that, there was a real big focus in the city by many groups on infant mortality — and it really made a difference. "Our program had high volume enrollment and others did too during that time. We were able to partner with the city on the transportation piece. So we were able to get a lot of people to services that they needed." Make Your Date, Henry Ford Health System, Ascension Health, the March of Dimes and numerous other partners focused on moving the needle, she said. "All of those people collectively as a group really were focused on infant mortality," she said. 
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MDMA may help treat PTSD – but beware of claims that Ecstasy is a magic bullet

Dr. Arash Javanbakht, associate professor of psychiatry, wrote an article for The Conversation. “Recent clinical trials, including one soon to be published in Nature Medicine, have suggested that MDMA combined with psychotherapy may help treat post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The news generated considerable optimism and excitement in the media, and some in the scientific community. As a psychiatrist and an expert in neurobiology and treatment of PTSD, I think these developments may be important – but not the major breakthrough that some people are suggesting. This approach is not a new magic bullet.
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17 teachers at Detroit school: Instead of Teacher Appreciation gifts, help us buy supplies

The Elliottorian Business and Professional Women's Club is the first club of Black business women in Detroit and Michigan and was founded in 1928. Throughout its history, awarding scholarships has been a staple of the organization’s public-service initiatives, with many scholarships awarded to students that have attended and graduated from Wayne State University. The organization’s connection to Wayne State includes former New Detroit President and CEO Shirley Coleman Stancato, who received a scholarship to Wayne State University from the Elliottorians after graduating from Cass Tech. Today, Stancato is a member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors.
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Michigan stocks soared as the economy stumbled – one jumped 76%

While the world is trying to crawl out of a pandemic recession, the stock market is doing just fine. Michigan is no outlier, as 14 of Michigan’s 16 public Fortune 500 companies have seen gains in share price since the start of 2020. “The broader economy might not have had a V-shaped recovery, but the stock market bounced back very quickly last April and May and even more so this fall,” said Matthew Roling, Wayne State adjunct business professor. “The market tanked last March and then it just climbed right out.” How can the stock market thrive when the rest of America stumbles? Because of three factors, Roling said: Stimulus, interest rates and Robinhood.
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‘Bullwhip' hits supply chains as missing links reverberate for months in flow of goods

From lumber to cheese to bath bombs to auto parts, shortages abound as the world's producers, distributors and retailers can't accurately match supply to demand. The result is empty shelves and skyrocketing prices ... with no end in sight. The fundamental issue behind each of these disruptions stems from the immediate impact of the pandemic. As stay-home orders landed across the globe and factories shut down, orders dried up in anticipation of a drawn-out recession. But it didn't play out like that. For instance, demand shifted from restaurants to grocery stores — remember the great toilet paper shortage of 2020? — and government stimulus buoyed, and sometimes boosted, consumer spending. The auto industry's ongoing semiconductor conundrum is a blueprint on how improperly assessing future demand can reverberate through the supply chain. For Zingerman's, the story is of similar dynamics. Cheese production slammed to a halt as Italy and Spain and other parts of Europe battled the virus last spring, followed by mandatory store closures in the U.S. Orders dried up, cheese spoiled, distributors docked their ships. But demand never faltered and as the industry came back on line, it's battled to play catch-up. To meet demand, purveyors ordered more imported cheese than necessary. This leads to even greater shortages from producers and distributors. So if a retailer can't get access to a wheel of imported Fleur de Marquis now, it may order more than normal when it is available to ensure it doesn't run out of stock in the future. This is called the bullwhip effect, said John Taylor, associate professor of global supply chain management and chair of the department of marketing and supply chain management at Wayne State University. "Companies are having difficulty figuring out what their customers' real demand is and are putting a lot of extra orders into the system," Taylor said. "Everyone is hedging their bets. This all leads to a lack of clarity what the demand signal really is. When you get a bullwhip, things begin to see out of stock conditions and then overflowing inventory. Industries are gyrating from having not enough product to having too much."
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Birmingham and the national planning trends

As Americans live longer and healthier, as today's youth may take longer to launch, as couples have fewer children, if they choose to have any at all – what are these demographic realizations portending for land use and urban planning? If people can live anywhere, how do city leaders permit housing options to retain and grow the population while maintaining values and encourage diversity? “Single family zoning was designed to protect single family property values from uses that were less desirable – and they explicitly called out 'less desirable' uses, including apartments, and oftentimes the underlying motivation was trying to keep white neighborhoods white,” said Carolyn Loh, associate professor, urban studies and planning, Wayne State University. “Today, some people are saying that is the reason single family zoning shouldn't exist – but it shouldn't be the only housing choice. For example, in order to live in a town with a good school district, renting or owning, that's your ticket to the community. Higher density (than single family) allows you to split the cost of the ticket. It doesn't mean low income – it means a lower income. A duplex can provide that.”
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AHA News: Is all exercise equal? How to balance workouts to create the ideal fitness plan

While any regular physical activity can benefit your health, the ideal fitness plan requires the right balance. The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination of both; plus muscle-strengthening activity, such as resistance training, at least two days per week. "Aerobic exercise should be the foundation of any exercise program," said Barry Franklin, director of preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, and professor of physiology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Doctors may suggest a medically supervised treadmill test to evaluate how a person's heart rate, blood pressure and heart rhythm respond to progressive levels of exercise, as well as their level of heart-lung fitness expressed as metabolic equivalents, or METs. Franklin calls METs the "currency of exercise." They are used to quantify one's aerobic fitness in order to recommend the appropriate level of activity.
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Troy’s Skypersonic drone company acquired by Florida’s Red Cat

Troy-based Skypersonic Inc., a drone and software company that began as a startup affiliated with the James and Patricia Anderson Engineering Ventures Institute at Wayne State University, announced it signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Red Cat Holdings in Florida, a drone technology company. Skypersonic produces unmanned aerial vehicles and navigation systems to enable inspection services in industrial spaces that lack GPS access or are restrictive, impractical, or dangerous for human inspection. Its technologies include Skycopter, a miniature drone encased in a spherical frame, and a trans-continental remote piloting platform, a software suite that enables the drone to record and transmit telemetry data while being operated from anywhere in real time. Wayne State has made an investment in Skypersonic of $350,000 over the last three years and is the company’s second-largest investor and only university investor. Skypersonic announced earlier this year it completed a flight in Detroit that was controlled from Florida in a partnership between Skypersonic and Red Cat.
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Airbnb hosts, Uber drivers and waiters who are more politically conservative get slightly higher ratings and tips

Alexander Davidson, assistant professor of marketing, wrote an article for The Conversation. “Customers give higher ratings and tips to politically conservative Airbnb hosts, Uber drivers and waiters than to ones with more liberal leanings, according to new peer-reviewed research I co-authored. That’s despite evidence we found that consumers may actually expect the opposite. To reach the first conclusion, a colleague and I conducted four different studies. The first involved poring over about 50,000 Airbnb listings in 16 U.S. cities. We examined average ratings and compared them with the percentage of Republican voters in the city, based on recent elections. We found that Airbnb hosts in cities with a greater share of Republican voters tended to have higher ratings. Specifically, an increase of one percentage point in a city’s proportion of Republicans correlated with a 0.12 increase in its average Airbnb rating. While that may seem small, Airbnb ratings are often quite high, which means a small change can be significant.”
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Census shows Michigan grows, still loses U.S. House seat

Michigan’s slow population growth over the past decade will cost the state a U.S. House seat, continuing a decades-long trend as job-seekers and retirees have fled to other states. The U.S. Census Bureau listed the state’s 2020 apportionment population at 10,084,442, leaving Michigan with 13 congressional seats. Michigan’s population grew for decades, from 7.8 million in 1960 to more than 9.9 million in 2000. It recorded a slight decline in the census 10 years ago, to 9.8 million. Over time, its congressional seats have been peeled off little by little by faster-growing states, mostly in the Sunbelt. “Those congressional districts are equal to political power in Washington,” said Timothy Bledsoe, professor of political science at Wayne State University in Detroit. “When it leaves Michigan and goes to Texas, it is a reflection of the loss of political power in Michigan and gain of political power that goes to Texas.” Dropping from 14 House seats to 13 also will mean the boundaries of some districts will have to change. But the job of drawing those districts will no longer be in the hands of the Legislature, which is controlled by Republicans.
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Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson aiming for a 90% campus vaccination rate

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases throughout Michigan has dampened hopes of a prompt return to normalcy. Schools and universities are once again having to navigate reopening plans for the fall as the state endures significant community spread. Some universities in Metro Detroit, including Oakland University, have announced that they will require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated before returning to campus. M. Roy Wilson is the President of Wayne State University. He says that Michigan was once seen as a leader in managing the racial disparities present in the spread of COVID-19. Now, he says, that progress has dramatically diminished. “Michigan really was a model early on in terms of what can be done … in terms of deaths and racial disparity. … Obviously, the overall situation has really deteriorated … it hasn’t gone back to as bad as early days … but it’s disappointing,” says Wilson on the disparate outcomes of COVID-19. With the benefit of hindsight, Wilson says while he wouldn’t enact a complete state shutdown at this point, perhaps he wouldn’t have opened the state back up when the governor did. On the criticism Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing, Wilson says it’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback. “It’s easy to pick one or two things and say this is the cause … overall, I think the governor has done a good job,” says Wilson. As for Wayne State University, Wilson says he hopes incentives will encourage more students and staff to get vaccinated before the fall. He adds that to open safely, a large majority of the campus must be vaccinated. “We may be heading into a mandate … I don’t want to jump into that, but it’s a possibility for the fall … right now, I’d like to try to do anything possible to not issue a mandate. … I’d like to see about a 90% campus vaccination rate,” says Wilson on a potential vaccine mandate for the fall.
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COVID-19 pandemic causing increase in nursing & medical school applicants

We’ve spent more than a year battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and doctors and nurses are among the heroes on the front line every day. The U.S. will need nearly 140,000 doctors by 2033 and around 500,000 nurses by 2030. Thankfully, the determination we’ve seen during the pandemic is inspiring an explosion of interest and applications for nursing schools and medical schools across the country and right here in metro Detroit. That sense of commitment and desire to help others is what schools are looking for in future doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. "I think most people are good at heart and they want to make a difference," Wayne State School of Medicine Dean Dr. Mark Schweitzer said. He said you can make that difference with these professions but you also get a reward. "To have a profession where you go home every night and you said that I helped patients X, Y and Z today is a righteous thing to do," he added. Wayne State’s medical school received 1,000 additional applications - up 10%. But the school can only increase the size of the class by 3%. The size of medical schools is regulated by their accrediting body, and there are only so many clinical spots for med school students and nursing students. Schweitzer says it would be easy to fill up an incoming med school with people with perfect GPAs and from the right zip codes. He says Wayne State’s mission is to train people who might not be able to get that training elsewhere.
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Wayne State students who show proof of COVID vaccine will get money added to campus card

Wayne State University is offering a monetary incentive to students who receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Students who show proof of immunization will get a $10 credit added to their OneCard, the university announced. The credit can be used for Grubhub or used on campus. "As we announced last month, we expect the majority of our fall classes to be offered in person. There is nothing we would like more. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 numbers in Michigan are currently at an unacceptably high level," said President M. Roy Wilson. "The best way to ensure a return to campus in September is to get a vaccination if you haven’t yet done so."
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Examining racism and race relations in wake of Chauvin conviction

The death of George Floyd and the conviction of Derek Chauvin have prompted serious discussions about racism and relations between the African American community and police. We're talking about it in tonight's 7 UpFront segment with Wayne State University Political Science Professor Ron Brown. "I was happy because I thought about myself, my two sons, and my one grandson who've all been stopped by the police," Brown says. "I'm hoping all Americans realize that we should have a fair procedural structure of justice so that no one feels like a stranger. So I was very, very happy with the outcome."
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Do you really need 8 glasses of water a day? An exercise scientist explains why your kidneys say ‘no’

Tamara Hew-Butler, associate professor of exercise and sports science, wrote an article for The Conversation on the health risks associated with overhydration. “The warmer weather and longer days have inspired reminders to “stay hydrated” and drink eight glasses of water – or about two liters – a day. Not to burst anyone’s water bottle, but healthy people can actually die from drinking too much water. I am an exercise physiologist, and my research focuses on overhydration and how drinking too much water affects the body. Since water – and sodium – balance is essential to life, it is extremely rare for people to die from drinking too much – or too little – fluid. In most cases, your body’s finely tuned molecular processes are unconsciously taking care of you.”
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Wayne State University offers students money to get COVID-19 vaccine

Wayne State University is dangling some free money as an incentive to get students to get vaccinated. The offer from the midtown Detroit school is simple — upload proof of vaccination by May 7 and get $10 added to their student accounts. The proof has to show students have had at least their first shot, if they are getting a two-dose vaccination. The money can be used right away for Grubhub orders or saved to be used on campus in the fall. The vaccination can take place through the university's campus health center or anywhere else. University President M. Roy Wilson outlined the move in an email to students Wednesday morning. "As we announced last month, we expect the majority of our fall classes to be offered in person," Wilson wrote. "There is nothing we would like more. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 numbers in Michigan are currently at an unacceptably high level. The best way to ensure a return to campus in September is to get a vaccination if you haven’t yet done so. To further encourage you to take this critical step, we are providing an extra incentive — although the best incentive is your good health. In addition to getting vaccinated, please continue to take the appropriate precautions to ensure the health and safety of yourselves, our campus and the community. Thank you for doing your part to help keep our campus Warrior Strong."