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St. Clair College, Wayne State University expand cross-border partnership

Wayne State University and St. Clair College signed five articulation agreements Wednesday at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts, offering students the opportunity to develop their education between both institutions in two countries. Students in the accounting, business administration, computer technology, interior design, and marketing programs will now have the option to apply credits from their two- or three-year diploma toward a university degree in their field at Wayne State and receive both a diploma and degree in four years. Wayne State University president M. Roy Wilson said the partnership will save students time and money while building a résumé “that will make them attractive to employers on both sides of the border.” He echoed the value for business students to gain international experience through education. “I think right now, because of the way the world is and the way education is, you pretty much have to have some sort of international exposure,” Wilson said. “That’s the way business is.” With the enhanced partnership, St. Clair College students will receive Wayne State’s Great Lakes Tuition Award, a tuition break for Ontario students. Through the award, Ontario students will pay 10 per cent more than students in Michigan — around 50 per cent less than other international students. Wayne State is planning to hold an open house in November at St. Clair College to answer any questions from interested students.
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Amid an urgent public health crisis, a bid to find better ways to curb opioid abuse

Against a backdrop of steadily-soaring opioid-related death rates in the U.S., state agencies and private funders are pairing up to tackle the complex problem of opioid use disorder. A new program, recently announced by the Michigan Opoid Partnership and Governor Gretchen Whitmer, aims to serve as a model of best practices for other states, especially those with large rural populations, in addressing opioid addiction. The $5 million series of grants will go towards the removal of barriers to effective treatment for opioid use disorder at all levels, from training and prevention to coordination, implementation and data collection. Another $1.5 million of the funds will go to select county jails and Wayne State University's Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, which will coodinate MAT programs and therapeutic behavioral treatments for incarcerated individuals over a 16-month period.
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Wayne State University president to visit Rochester as part of bike tour

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson will bike to Rochester as part of the third annual Road Warrior bike tour later this month. The tour begins Monday, July 22 and will end when Wilson and his fellow cyclists arrive back on campus on Friday, July 26. As part of the tour, Wilson will bike to four cities in five days for a total of 450 miles. The year’s tour focuses on celebrations with donors, alumni and friends of the university.“ We will travel to communities that are home to many donors and alumni,” said Wilson in a news release. “It will be good to hear their thoughts about the university they love, and to interact with them in fun summertime activities.”
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How to make the bus sexy

Can the bus be the “in” thing as far as getting around town? Tastes are changing around the country and here in Detroit. Many younger adults don’t feel the same attachment to the car as previous generations. Today our conversation on the podcast is with Sarosh Irani. He was recently featured in the national publication Streetsblog for his research at Wayne State University to improve Detroit’s bus system. For instance, just by moving the shelters to where people actually need them — not building new ones — 8x more people could have access to bus shelters. And shelters matter as weather in Detroit? As you know, it can be a real thing to deal with.
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Immigrants recount their personal “independence days”

In the middle of the night Aug. 2, 1990, May Mulla and her parents were asleep in their homeland of Kuwait when “we woke up surrounded by tanks.” Iraqi forces had invaded the small Middle Eastern country. “Chaos ensued. It wasn’t safe. It was a mess,” Mulla said of the days that followed. “There were Iraqi soldiers everywhere. There were tanks everywhere. Nobody was picking up the trash. There was no security.” Everything for the family and the life they had known suddenly changed. When her parents went to the grocery store, her mom always reminded Mulla, age 20 at the time, where her Iraqi passport was “in case we never come back.” Mulla’s parents — Iraqi citizens — were university professors in Kuwait. They had at one time lived in the U.S., where Mulla’s older sister and two older brothers had been born, making them U.S. citizens. Mulla was not born in the U.S. and lived in Kuwait as an Iraqi citizen. During the invasion, Iraqi soldiers told Mulla’s father, “You’re going to help us create a university under Iraqi rule.” Her father wanted no part of that, so Mulla and her parents quickly packed two suitcases each and left in the middle of the night, eventually boarding a Pan Am jet en route to America in September 1990. At the time, her oldest brother and older sister were in America. Her other brother stayed in the Middle East until later. “I didn’t get to say goodbye to anybody,” Mulla, now 49, recalled. “I left all my friends and the only place I ever lived. We left through Jordan and made it to Michigan in October 1990. It was very hard. I lost the place where I had been born.” Once in the U.S., Mulla — who knew “quite a bit of English” — earned a journalism degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. She became a citizen in 1996. The Warren resident decided to get her citizenship “to have a new identity, be able to vote and to just feel like I have a secure status in the country.”
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Can failing schools be rapidly turned around? Two education professors say no

The idea that failing schools can be rapidly turned around is a myth, say two Michigan professors. “School turn-around means that you have someone come in and they change some things and test scores dramatically improve,” said Tom Pedroni, an associate professor at Wayne State University, who specializes in researching urban school districts where the students are mostly poor and of color. One example of a debunked quick fix is the “Texas Miracle” in the Houston Independent School District in the 1990s under Rod Paige, who later was secretary of education from 2001 to 2005 under President George W. Bush. Pedroni said Paige’s turn-around model was used to write the No Child Left Behind Act, which became law in 2002. The central piece of that law was that school districts administer statewide standardized tests to all students in order to receive federal funding. 
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40 train cars derail inside Port Huron-to-Sarnia tunnel

A Canadian National Railway train derailed early Friday morning inside the Port Huron-to-Sarnia rail tunnel under the St. Clair River, clogging up international train traffic at the border, according to Port Huron's city manager. Approximately 40 rail cars derailed inside the tunnel while the train was passing through the one-lane St. Clair River Tunnel, Port Huron City Manager James Freed said. CN Rail owns it, according to Freed, who said he was told CN is rerouting trains "as far back as Chicago." Due to height differences, not all lines can be rerouted through Detroit. The 24-year-old St. Clair Tunnel can accommodate double-stacked containers of up to 9 feet 6 inches high each, while Detroit's 109-year-old Michigan Central Railway Tunnel under the Detroit River can only accommodate up to 8 feet 6 inches each, according to John Taylor, chair of the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business's department of marketing and supply chain management. Taylor said the Detroit tunnel was enlarged in the mid-1990s by removing concrete from the inside to get extra clearance for taller rail cars. The Port Huron crossing pass primarily takes cargo between Halifax or Montreal and Chicago, while the Detroit crossing primarily carries traffic between Montreal and Chicago, according to Taylor. Port Huron moves a large amount of manufactured goods and automotive components, and a lesser amount of consumer goods, he said. Taylor doesn't expect the Port Huron tunnel to be closed for long, barring unforeseen circumstances. He expects any significant impacts would subside in three to four days or so. "Keep in mind all the railroads contract with quick-response companies," Taylor said. "Whether it's a tunnel or not, they have these quick-response crews with all sorts of specialized equipment (to replace broken tracks) ... If you've got a fixed track and it's closed, trains start backing up, right?"

Nineteen years after coming out, Ecorse city councilman says fight for equality continues

Robert Hellar decided to make a difference in Ecorse before he even knew if the city would accept him for who he is. For 23 years, he’s served as an Ecorse city councilman, helping revive a previously divested recreation department and working to eliminate blight in the small Downriver town. Hellar, who is gay, said he first ran for office before coming out to his family. “Running for council, I never really ran as an openly gay candidate,” he said. “When I first ran back when I was 20, I didn’t feel comfortable because my family didn’t even know yet. “Coming out was not easy in Ecorse back in the day. But I felt an obligation to serve the community and try to make it a better place. That’s what I’ve tried to do for all these years.” Hellar, who works full-time as an academic services officer at Wayne State University, recently won an award from the Detroit institution for the work he’s done “to create an inclusive, respectful and safe climate for members of the LGBTQ community on campus.”
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The new battlefront in food insecurity fight

Food insecurity, defined as being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food, is currently a situation that 12.3 percent of U.S. households experience. It's defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food. However, David Strauss, Wayne State University dean of students, says, “It's not just food – it's all basic needs. With the increasing costs of tuition for college, it's food, shelter, clothing.” Strauss said on the Wayne State campus he has seen an increase in student food insecurity in the last decade. “We weren't talking about this 10 years ago. We weren't talking about food insecurity, homelessness, basic needs challenges. Everyone was always having food drives for Gleaners (Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan,) but that was for other people. Now we're having department food drives for our students.” Strauss and other administrators at area schools of higher education emphasize the reason food insecurity and hunger is such a major issue – and pressing talking point – is because it can be a direct impediment to student success. “If we look at student success, and we focus on student success and graduation, our number one goal is to get them across the finish line – and if we cannot get them nourishment, we can't help them succeed and cross the finish line,” Strauss explained. “If students aren't eating, they're going to class, working part or full-time jobs, they're operating on fumes,” noted Raneisha Williams Fox, coordinator of student wellness at Wayne State University and the W Pantry, Wayne State's food pantry, which during the 2018-2019 school year gave out more than 8,000 pounds of food. It opened in April 2017. “In a week we'll see 25 to 28 students, and between 80 and 100 students monthly. Since we've opened we've serviced 1,500 students, and we've given out more than 20,000 pounds of food.”
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Wages for 12,000 local employees on line when Ford, UAW workers begin contract talks

The wages and benefits of more than 12,000 Louisville workers will be on the line when national contract negotiations between Ford Motor Co. and 55,000 members of the United Auto Workers union begin next month. The current contract ends in September, and a labor expert told Insider that turbulence in the auto industry and the economy as a whole will make the coming tug-of-war the toughest since before the financial crisis. “These negotiations, I think, are going to be tense and challenging on a number of different fronts,” said Marick Masters, professor of management and director of the Douglas A. Fraser Center in the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University. Masters said that the automakers are entering the negotiations as they’re seeing stagnating sales — but at the same time are facing enormous investments into new technologies. The union, meanwhile, will want raises and commitments for investments in American manufacturing plants to increase job security. While automakers always have to spend money on developing new products, Masters said rapid technological changes in the industry are requiring additional investments in electrification and autonomous vehicles. Ford and other U.S. automakers have to invest in new technologies or fear losing sales to foreign competitors. Ford also still is feeling the drag from investments in China that haven’t paid off, and from staying in the small car market longer than competitors, Masters said.
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In the lab: Ovarian cancer cells show mutation from talc exposure

Dr. Ghassan Saed, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Wayne State University, wanted to see the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer for himself. His lab focuses on studying how ovarian cancer cells evolve and become cancerous, and why they eventually become resistant to chemotherapy. “I heard the talcum powder ads about increased risk of ovarian cancer and thought, ‘is there a link?’” Saed said. In February 2019, Saed and his team conducted and published a study to Reproductive Sciences confirming the link between the powder and ovarian cancer. WSU’s findings are the first to confirm the cellular effect of talc and provide a molecular mechanism to previous reports linking genital use to increased ovarian cancer risk. Women who have used talcum powder are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer and should receive special medical attention, said Saed.
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In Benton Harbor schools, a lesson for – and about – Gretchen Whitmer

Angry residents pummeled Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer with questions earlier this month. She answered and kept answering, staying in the church for almost four hours trying to explain why she believed it was in the best interest of Benton Harbor children to close the impoverished community’s lone high school and send those students elsewhere. The meeting between the Democratic governor and residents of this Democratic stronghold didn’t change many minds. But it did crystalize a governing style that at times risks alienating the governor’s supporters in an effort to resolve the state’s long-standing problems. Her approach ‒ announcing bold plans and then asking critics to come up with something better. How that style pans out in Benton Harbor is yet to be determined. Tom Pedroni, associate professor of education at Wayne State University, questions whether Whitmer’s actions – taking a bold stance on closure and then agreeing to negotiations – was an intended strategy. “I think she was shocked” by the negative reaction to close the high school, said Pedroni, who has been active in protesting Whitmer’s plan. “Gov. Whitmer … was trying to execute through threat a deeply disruptive plan … (and) she’s only softening her approach now because she failed to anticipate the tremendous political blowback, and potential loss of political capital that she encountered across the state,” Pedroni said. “This could be an important teachable moment for her. She needs to move beyond just trying to contain the political damage, to truly understanding and addressing the state policy mechanisms that will continue to grind away and throw into crisis predominantly black, low-income districts like Benton Harbor.”
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Kids Kicking Cancer inspires children to feel empowered

Twenty years ago, Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg turned a personal tragedy of losing his 2-year-old daughter Sara to leukemia into something that has brought power, peace and purpose to children who have been diagnosed with cancer and other diseases. Today, his organization Kids Kicking Cancer (KKC) has reached approximately 15,000 children around the world, from those who visit the dojo in Southfield to as far away as Israel and Italy. “Our goal is to reach every child in the world,” said Goldberg, who is founder and international director of KKC, as well as clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Wayne State University School of Medicine. “Giving children the tools to breathe in the light and blow out the darkness gives them a sense of power.” Kids Kicking Cancer is now in 72 institutions globally. In addition to the program continuing its work in Michigan hospitals, it is in nine hospitals in Israel and 12 in South Africa. Goldberg and his staff are now looking to bring the program to children in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique as well as Egypt and Jordan.
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Wayne State officer learns in Israel

Wayne State University Chief of Police Anthony Holt wrote an opinion piece about his recent trip to Israel as a member of the Law Enforcement/Federation Security Detroit delegation. Joined by six other delegations in Israel hailing from Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, Holt participated in a seven-day training regimen proving to be “one of the most intense and eye-opening immersion activities that I have experienced during my 42-year law enforcement career.” The daily 10-hour training covered a wide swath of topics, including coping with terrorism threats, anti-Semitism as a global terror threat, connection between community and security/emergency forces, terror in the State of Israel from the perspective of a senior commander in the field, Judaism in the diaspora, simulation exercises and numerous other critical points of discussion. “There were numerous lessons learned and other takeaways that emerged from the training sessions. Overall, I developed a deeper understanding of how to employ situational awareness — being aware of our surroundings throughout the day and watchful of any warning signs.”
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Will an aspirin a day keep COPD from flaring up?

A recent observational study suggests that aspirin might be instrumental in preventing flare ups of chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD), thereby improving quality of life for those who suffer from breathing difficulties because of it. Of the 1,700 participants followed in the three-year study, 764 reported that they took aspirin daily. The aspirin users in the 2019 study reported fewer flare ups and less shortness of breath than participants in a control group that did not use aspirin. The COPD patients who took aspirin also did better on the 50-question St. George Respiratory Questionnaire score, which measures quality of life in patients with diseases of airway obstruction. While daily aspirin users reported a lower incidence of flare-ups, the findings need further confirmation, the authors write. “The study demonstrated only a small effect on moderate exacerbations and didn’t indicate that aspirin is as effective as other therapies in reducing exacerbations,” says Amber Lanae Martirosov, PharmD, MSc, BCPS, clinical pharmacy specialist ambulatory care at Henry Ford Health Systems, and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University. “The observational study design also provides some limitations and should be a starting point, not a reason to change clinical practice.” Martirosov urged caution when interpreting the results because ratios tend to overestimate data in research. “Additionally, the study did not provide information about dosing, adherence, or duration of aspirin therapy,” she says. “As such, we are not able to make sound recommendations about aspirin therapy in terms of dosing or duration.”
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NATO’s future to be explored July 25 at Wayne State University

The Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Wayne State University, in collaboration with NATO, is presenting a half-day symposium from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, July 25. The program will feature a keynote by former U.S. Senator Carl Levin titled “The Evolution and Future Direction of NATO.” A panel also will be held, featuring NATO Assistant Secretary General John Manza — a Wayne State University alumnus — and other distinguished security policy analysts and alliance scholars from Ohio State and Wayne State universities. Given the timeliness of this topic, the general public, media, as well as diplomatic and military officials in the region — including Canada — are welcome to attend the symposium and learn more about this key alliance. “In light of controversies over matters such as funding and future defense commitments, it is important for Americans, Canadians and others to know of NATO’s varied missions, which range from continental defense to naval rescue and multiregional peacekeeping,” said Frederic Pearson, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies director. “The alliance also has close relations with other organizations, including the European Union and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as individual national governments. Come and hear of these multiple facets.”
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Politicians admit mental health struggles

Presidential candidate Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., recently delivered confessions that are rare for members of Congress: They once struggled with and were treated for mental health conditions, he for post-traumatic stress disorder and she for depression. Discussing such problems out loud is a gamble in politics, and over the years few others in Congress have been forthcoming, but the chances are high that a number of politicians have faced mental health problems. An estimated 47 million people in the U.S. in any given year struggle with conditions such as anxiety or depression. Of those, 11 million have more serious conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Among the members of Congress who have shared their diagnoses are Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., who started speaking openly about his PTSD after he was elected in 2014, and former Rep. Lynn Rivers, D-Mich., who shared in 1994 that she was successfully being medicated for bipolar disorder. "People use anything they can find against their opponent," said Arash Javanbakht, assistant professor of psychiatry at Wayne State University School of Medicine. Most insults, he said, are "rooted in ignorance or misinformation." He added, however, that he believes substance abuse or having a personality disorder would be most worrisome for a leader because they impair judgment.
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$5M pledged for new opioid addition treatment program in public, private partnership

Combining private and public dollars, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer launched a new initiative to combat the same growing opioid crisis in the state that’s plaguing the country and killing thousands of Americans every year. The collaborative program, dubbed the Michigan Opioid Partnership, aims to remove barriers to those people who need to enter an opioid treatment program and find a path to success, Whitmer said Monday afternoon during a news conference on the campus of Wayne State University. In addition to the medication system in hospitals, the program will assist jails using a continuity-of-care approach focused on long-term treatment of opioid disorder using $1.5 million in funds. The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at Wayne State University will get the grant to coordinate the efforts. County jails will be selected for funding to work in partnership with the university team to serve inmates with addiction. The program will last 16-months and will work like an extension of the current program in place, explained Sheryl Kubiac, the dean of Wayne State University’s School of Social Work and Director of the Center for Behavioral Health. Kubiac said the program was already involved in 16 counties with jail administrators and community stakeholders. “We’re going to act as sort of the glue, or the external facilitators to go into the counties and get folks to talk to each other,” she said. “Inside the jails we are going to lead them through a needs assessment. Each one of the county jails that works with us will get approximately $250,000 to be able to apply to an area of need.” Kubiac said working with addicts in jail is different than when someone is in the emergency department at a hospital; in jail, a person is forced to look at the problem and can’t hide from it. “You don’t get the hospital ER where they come in and go out. People that go in jail are usually there for a few days so you get a chance to really engage them, or begin the process of engagement and that’s really important when someone is addicted – you need that time to really engage them,” she said. “The medications do a start to get people paying attention and stabilize, but then what we have to do is try and figure out why they were using and try to fix what’s happening emotionally or psychologically.”
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Detroit, FCA work to match residents to Jeep jobs

Experts say there could be some challenges in finding qualified Detroiters to fill and maintain the production and skilled trade positions to a level that would please city leaders. City officials, however, say the initial response it has received from interested Detroit residents — more than 11,000 — signals that many Detroiters could be willing and able to take on the new jobs. Detroit is leading the effort to screen applicants for the positions. It’s going to be critical that Detroiters are prepared when they apply for the jobs, said Marick Masters, a professor of management at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business. “Today’s auto workers are much more skilled," he said. "It requires a lot more knowledge than in the past. People aren’t just going to… like they did in the '30s and '40s, walk into the plant and say 'I’m ready' and they’re going to take you that very day. I think what we have to do in Detroit is make certain that our workforce is as ready as possible.”
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Wayne State Police rescue concussed peregrine falcon chick

A peregrine falcon chick is recovering from a concussion after Wayne State University police rescued him from a grassy median at a busy intersection last week. Police were responding to a call about a big bird near the intersection of Cass and Warren in Midtown when two officers spotted the injured chick Wednesday night. “As we got closer, we could see blood close to the beak,” Officer Matt Roznowski tells the Metro Times. He and his partner Asaad Fradi gingerly placed the chick in a padded bag and took him back to the police station. “I have a big heart for animals,” Roznowski says. Afraid the chick may die without medical care, Officer Heather Glowacz drove the chick to Spirit Filled Wings Raptor Rehabilitation in Romeo. The male chick is now in the good hands of Department of Natural Resources volunteer and falcon expert Dave Hogan. “He had a little bit of a concussion,” says Danielle Durham, a DNR nesting coordinator. “He’s doing OK.”