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What is cystic fibrosis? This genetic disease affects every system in the body

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a complex, life-threatening disease that affects many organs in the body, including the lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. It’s caused by a genetic mutation that causes a certain protein to stop working. “The predominant way CF affects the body is in the gastrointestinal and respiratory system, but it causes a wide variety of complications that affects every system in the body,” Zubin Mukadam, M.D., assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care at Wayne State University, tells Health. “We do a lot of newborn screening,” says Mukadam. “However, a lot of kids get missed because there are over 1,700 genetic mutations that could prompt CF, and most genetic tests only screen for the most common mutations.” 
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IHEP summit spotlights financial struggles of low-income, working-class students

Achieving equity for low-income students in post-secondary education requires getting down to the nitty-gritty of what they need, and the Institute for Higher Education Policy provided a forum for that with a summit featuring game-changing institutional leaders — including WSU Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Dawn Medley — the release of a special report and in-person perspectives of students who have overcome major finance-related obstacles on their way to a degree. With student-sensitive efforts such as generous emergency funds and a debt-forgiveness initiative, Wayne State University has been a national leader in providing financial and emotional support to low-income and working-class students. “It’s letting them know that you don’t just see them, but you hear them,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment management. “Schools keep putting burden of success on the back of the student. You really have to listen to your students and what they need if you are going to clean up the water and change the system.”
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Michigan Mobility Institute, Wayne State partner on advanced mobility curriculum

The Michigan Mobility Institute announced the world’s first advanced mobility education curriculum for the sector Tuesday in partnership with Wayne State University’s College of Engineering. The organizations said in a joint Tuesday announcement that they’ll begin developing programming to power mobility careers in the months ahead. Kim Trent, chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors, said in a statement that the partnership with the Michigan Mobility Institute could help extend Detroit’s 100 years of history in mobility innovation into the 21st century and beyond. “I couldn’t be more thrilled that the futurists behind the Detroit Mobility Lab and the Michigan Mobility Institute have chosen Wayne State as their partner. This Institute will make our university a world leading center for cutting-edge thinking and leadership for this critically important emerging sector.” Wayne State’s College of Engineering offers a graduate certificate in cyberphysical systems, a program in electric drive vehicle engineering and a newly developed master of science degree in data science and business analytics. “Together we are poised to create something very special as we embark on a shared mission to create the premiere institution focused on educating the mobility engineer of the future,” Farshad Fotouhi, dean of the College of Engineering and computer science professor said. 
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Legislators push for more librarians in Michigan schools

At a time that Michigan students are falling behind, three bills have landed in Lansing for further discussion. In 2018, the Michigan Department of Education released statistics that showed less than half of Michigan third and fourth graders read at grade level. Michigan ranks 47th in the nation for its ratio of students to certified librarians — it’s also in the bottom five in literacy. The two statistics have legislators like State Rep. Darrin Camilleri questioning why more isn’t being done to increase the presence of librarians in schools. Earlier this year, Wayne State launched a program to certify media specialists because so few exist after years of attrition. During recessions many schools began to look for areas to cut within their budget — media specialists were among the first positions cut. Some experts believe it’s directly related to the state’s literacy concerns. “It’s unfortunate, but we see correlation between the decline of certified librarians and the decline in our students literacy scores,” said Kafi Kumasi, a professor at Wayne State University.
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Using AI to help students learn "how to college"

Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment management, wrote a piece about Wayne State’s innovative use of a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) tool – also known as “chatbot.” Medley wrote: “The chatbot, developed by AdmitHub, helps prospective students successfully apply to and enroll in a college or university by answering their questions through text and mobile messaging. Marrying AI with a conversational tone, our chatbot – named “W the Warrior,” after our mascot – helped boost enrollment by 14.6 percent, including an 18 percent increase in first-generation students and a 13 percent increase in Pell-eligible students.” Medley points out that in-person guidance and nudges are as vital as ever, but the chatbot has afforded more time to focus on important interactions. “At Wayne State, we have discovered that there is no silver bullet to helping our students learn “how to college.” But we now know about several solutions that can work in tandem to help our students succeed. Success is not just about how students learn in the classroom. It’s also about how students interact with the institution.
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How technology bridges gaps between healthcare and underserved populations

Steven Ondersma discovered that "only a very small proportion, maybe 10 percent" of the people who need professional care realize that need and have the means to address it. "I've just become really interested in having whole-population effects, rather than helping a few people who might be ready to make use of the treatment and have access to that treatment," says Ondersma, deputy director of the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University. Ondersma and others in Michigan who are interested in addressing the social determinants of health have increasingly turned to technology as an answer to that question. Weisong Shi, professor of computer science at Wayne State envisions the potential for technology to bring a doctor's office to those more remote patients. He proposes a vehicle, "just like an ice cream truck," that would allow people to get basic physical tests in their communities, with the results being transmitted back to a provider's office. Asthma disproportionately affects African-Americans nationwide, but in Detroit the problem is particularly pronounced – and often an emergency situation. Karen MacDonell, associate professor in Wayne State’s School of Medicine, has been using technology to improve those outcomes with the Detroit Young Adult Asthma Project. Funded by a series of National Institutes of Health grants, MacDonell began the project over 10 years ago by interviewing young African-American Detroiters about their asthma. She asked participants what strategies would help them adhere to their medication before an emergency arose. "Long story short, they wanted something using technology – something they could have with them, something easy to manage, something brief," she says. MacDonell developed a text messaging program that collects information about a patient's asthma and then sends the patient conversational messages encouraging medication use.
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Exhibit looks at history of Detroit's Corktown neighborhood

A new exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum takes visitors through 150 years of life in the city’s Corktown neighborhood. Called “The Journey to Now ,” the exhibit opened this month and is scheduled to run through July 7. The exhibit is hosted by the nonprofit organization Corktown Experience in conjunction with Wayne State University’s Anthropology Museum. It tells the story of the people who lived in the Workers’ Row House in Corktown and of the workers who helped build Detroit into an industrial and automotive powerhouse. This exhibit kicks off an effort by Corktown Experience to turn the Workers’ Row House and the surrounding property into a community hub and cultural center.
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Will Michigan 3rd-grade reading law hurt poor?

Children from low-income and minority families will be more likely to flunk than wealthier white classmates with similarly low test scores under Michigan’s third-grade reading law, if the experience of Florida is repeated here. Research and Northwestern University found that Florida third-graders with similarly low reading scores were held back at different rates, depending on the socioeconomic status of their families. While the long-term impact of holding children back a grade is mixed, the socioeconomic and racial disparity found in Florida should be a flashing yellow caution light for Michigan, said Sarah Lenhoff, assistant professor of education at Wayne State University. “This study is an important warning for Michigan lawmakers and educators as our state implements this new law,” Lenhoff said. “If children are given differential opportunities to use exemptions from retention, this policy could lead to greater inequity in educational opportunity between low-income children and their wealthier peers.”
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How technology is bridging gaps between healthcare and underserved populations

Steven Ondersma discovered that "only a very small proportion, maybe 10 percent" of the people who need professional care realize that need and have the means to address it. "I've just become really interested in having whole-population effects, rather than helping a few people who might be ready to make use of the treatment and have access to that treatment," says Ondersma, deputy director of the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University. Ondersma and others in Michigan who are interested in addressing the social determinants of health have increasingly turned to technology as an answer to that question. Weisong Shi, professor of computer science at Wayne State envisions the potential for technology to bring a doctor's office to those more remote patients. He proposes a vehicle, "just like an ice cream truck," that would allow people to get basic physical tests in their communities, with the results being transmitted back to a provider's office. "You can go to this rural area and ... run these checks without asking these people to drive about 50 miles away to go to a hospital to do this kind of test," Shi says. Asthma disproportionately affects African-Americans nationwide, but in Detroit the problem is particularly pronounced – and often an emergency situation. Karen MacDonell, associate professor in Wayne State’s School of Medicine, has been using technology to improve those outcomes with the Detroit Young Adult Asthma Project. Funded by a series of National Institutes of Health grants, MacDonell began the project over 10 years ago by interviewing young African-American Detroiters about their asthma. She asked participants what strategies would help them adhere to their medication before an emergency arose. "Long story short, they wanted something using technology – something they could have with them, something easy to manage, something brief," she says. MacDonell developed a text messaging program that collects information about a patient's asthma and then sends the patient conversational messages encouraging medication use.
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Institutions hope to increase diversity through mentorship

A 2012 federal report found a lack of students from underrepresented backgrounds entering undergraduate programs that lead to careers in biomedical research. To address this problem, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) created the Diversity Program Consortium (DPC). DPC takes a multi-pronged approach in its efforts to train and mentor students, enhance faculty development, and improve institutional research training infrastructure. There are three interconnected programs that make up DPC: Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD), the National Research Mentoring Network, and the Coordination and Evaluation Center. ReBUILDetroit is a partnership between the University of Detroit Mercy, Marygrove College, Wayne County Community College District, and Wayne State University and is funded by a $21.2 million NIH grant. Collectively, the institutions enroll roughly 47,300 undergraduates. Nearly 52 percent of them come from underrepresented backgrounds and half are economically disadvantaged.
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Age of fraud: are seniors more vulnerable to financial scams?

Scientists looking into age-related financial vulnerability are very interested in physical changes to the aging brain, the way eyesight and hearing can get less keen. In some cases, a new pattern of making mistakes with money may be a harbinger of cognitive bad things to come, the “first thing to go,” as it were. McGill University neuroscientist Nathan Spreng was able to track down 13 elderly scam victims and 13 others equivalent in age, gender and education who had successfully fended off a scam. Spreng’s research found the brains of the two groups were physically different. He noticed this thinning of the part of the brain called the “insula,” which, along with a lot of other things, may help us trigger our “spidey sense,” the hunch that can warn us away from dicey financial situations. Some experts are skeptical about practical applications of research like Spreng’s. Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, is not a neuroscientist but a psychologist who studies financial decision-making capacity. While he sees the brain scanning as promising, his experience tells him financial acumen and scam-spotting are really complex matters. “There is no one aging pattern,” Lichtenberg said. “You know, some older adults are as good as they were in their fifties and sixties. Others are showing a more significant decline.” Lichtenberg says he has data showing 20 percent of older people admit when they do talk about money with others, it’s out of loneliness. That is, people might engage with a scammer because they want to talk to someone, anyone.
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Opinion: Schools and researchers must collaborate to help Detroit students

Wayne State University College of Education professors Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, Ben Pogodzinski and Erica Edwards wrote an opinion piece exploring approaches to improving lives of Detroit students, focusing on issues of student enrollment and attendance. “Researching the challenges most cited by school leaders and community advocates, we found that roughly a quarter of students who lived in Detroit in the 2017-18 school year attended a school in the suburbs, taking their talents and state school funding out of the city’s schools. We also found that nearly one-fifth of Detroit students switched schools between school years, which can negatively impact achievement and destabilize the schools they left. Additionally, over half of the students who attended school in Detroit missed 10 percent or more of the year, contributing to lower academic achievement and greatly increasing their risk of high school dropout. Findings like these can play a pivotal role in educational policy decision-making, but the policymakers and advocates who could benefit from such information rarely have access to the journals where academics like us typically publish our research…Our research joins a growing body of scholarship that suggests that a collaborative approach to school improvement, with community, school, city, and university partners, could help overcome challenges facing Detroit schools.
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Wayne State University is improving its graduation rates

Last year, the six-year completion rate for all students was 47 percent. For first generation students, it’s up to 37 percent. And now, 22 percent of African-Americans get their degree from Wayne State. Monica Brockmeyer, senior associate provost for student success, says the school has made progress, but not enough. “We at Wayne State still have large educational disparities around race and ethnicity, around income status, around first generation.” Brockmeyer says they set a goal of getting 50 percent of their students to graduate from Wayne State six years. “We set that goal because at the time it seemed like a really even unimaginably attainable goal,” she said. But now that they’re close to 50 percent, Brockmeyer thinks the school will hit its goal early this year.
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Civil rights and the black power movement in Detroit

What do you know about Detroit’s civil rights history? What have you always wondered about that time period? There’s a new effort to tell and preserve the stories of Detroit’s civil rights pioneers, and it’s taking the form of an online resource called Rise Up Detroit, that’s launching today. Peter Blackmer, a lead researcher for Rise Up North and a research fellow at Wayne State’s Detroit Equity Action Lab, partnered on the project with civil rights activist and founder of Rise Up North Junius Williams. The website incorporates research and materials from Wayne State’s Reuther Library and other local sources to recount narratives of resistance through written, oral and visual materials from the civil rights and black power movements in Detroit. Blackmer and Williams joined Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson to talk about the project.
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'A giant in law, in civil rights, and in life,' Judge Damon Keith

The late federal Judge Damon J. Keith was laid to rest Monday in Detroit. The Motor City native, civil rights icon, and distinguished jurist passed away at age 96 on April 28. His life and legacy were celebrated during a funeral service at the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church on Detroit's west side. “Damon Keith was a giant in law, in civil rights, and in life," said Dr. M. Roy Wilson, President of Wayne State University, one of Keith's alma maters. A grandson of slaves., Keith died as a celebrated federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He was nominated for that position in 1977. Many of his milestone decisions were mentioned during his funeral service Monday, including those that put him at odds with people in power at the time. Keith fought racial discrimination in public housing, schools and police departments.
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Mourners remember Judge Damon Keith as giant in law, life

The parade of fellow judges in their black robes took five full minutes Monday at the funeral of Judge Damon J. Keith at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church. Both of Michigan's senators were there — Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters — as were former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, former Govs. Jennifer Granholm and Rick Snyder, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan, and former mayors Dennis Archer and Dave Bing. Keith had been celebrated in his own time. He received dozens of honorary degrees, and his name is on the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at the Wayne State University Law School. "Damon Keith was a giant in law, in civil rights, and in life," said Wayne State President Roy Wilson, standing at the altar behind a black casket. As mourners filled the church and watched a simulcast in the Wayne State Community Arts Auditorium, flags flew at half-staff at the State Capitol complex and on all state buildings.
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Researchers at Detroit’s Wayne State Find Link Between Zika Virus, Glaucoma

Researchers in Wayne State University’s department of ophthalmology, visual, and anatomical sciences have discovered in experimental models that the Zika virus can cause glaucoma. The study was published in mSphere, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Microbiology. Zika virus, or ZIKV poses challenges in reproductive health and has been shown to cause neurological disorders, primarily microcephaly, or the abnormal shrinking of the head circumference. Several clinical studies have also linked ZIKV to ocular deformities. “The eye is protected from systemic infection due the presence of a protective barrier called the blood retinal barrier,” says Ashok Kumar, associate professor and lead author of the study. “Previous studies from our laboratory have shown that ZIKV has the ability to infect and replicate in cells making the blood retinal barrier, hence potentially allowing the entry of ZIKV into the eye."
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They're worth billions; pursuit of their money is a consumer fraud issue today

He calls it the Crime of the 21st Century. “It’s open season and there are no signs of abatement,” said Peter Lichtenberg. And though he’s not a financial planner, the Wayne State University psychology professor has made it his mission to help older people hold on to their money in spite of possible cognitive decline and the deceitful manipulations of those who would cheat them. Gerontologists have been studying cognition for 70 years,” Lichtenberg said. “But our work is understanding financial decision-making—what it is and how it relates to financial exploitation.” A leading expert in the prevention of financial exploitation in older adults, Lichtenberg has written seven books and more than 200 peer-reviewed articles on mental health in long-term care, geriatric depression and the detection and management of Alzheimer's. In 2013, he became one of the nation's first Diplomats in Clinical Geropsychology with the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). As director of Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, he has won record levels of funding and created programs to benefit more than 10,000 older adults and professionals each year. While the risk to their money is great, Lichtenberg said many older adults do a tremendous job of maintaining their finances well into the last decades of their lives. In fact, he said, some 95 percent of cognitively healthy older adults and those with some cognitive decline manage debt, pay bills and maintain good credit just as well as 50-year-olds.