Campus briefs


United Way campaign named ‘2020 Workplace Giving Campaign of the Year’

United Way of Washtenaw County presented the University of Michigan United Way campaign team with the “2020 Workplace Giving Campaign of the Year” award. The announcement was made at its recent 2020 Annual Report and Volunteer Recognition virtual event. The award was presented to the campaign for its long-standing contribution to Washtenaw County and for being the top fundraising campaign for the United Way of Washtenaw County in 2020. The 2020 campaign was again led by T. Anthony Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the U-M Health System, and Cynthia Wilbanks, vice president emeritus for government relations. Thanks to the dedicated and generous faculty, staff, and retirees of the University of Michigan, the campaign raised more than $1.2 million.

New Graham catalyst grants focus on environment, equity

Three new projects engage with community partners to explore the interplay between environmental factors and quality of life in vastly different contexts. The projects have been selected to receive funding through the Graham Sustainability Institute’s catalyst grants, which provide support for small-scale, collaborative, interdisciplinary sustainability research. They are the newest of more than two dozen funded by Graham’s catalyst grant program since its inception. The grants fund projects that seek to improve urban stream quality in Washtenaw County and beyond, aim to convert alleys in Detroit into net-zero community spaces, and protect nail salon workers by providing them with a free digital training on how to reduce their toxic exposure. The three featured projects were chosen from among eight proposed this cycle. Each research team will receive $10,000. Read more about the projects at

Poverty Solutions senior research associate testifies at U.S. House hearing

Jennifer Erb-Downward, senior research associate at Poverty Solutions, testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education on May 19. The hearing was titled “Picking up the Pieces: Strengthening Connections with Students Experiencing Homelessness and Children in Foster Care.” At the hearing, Erb-Downward shared findings from her research on the educational challenges faced by students who do not have a stable place to live. In a new analysis of student discipline data from the Michigan Department of Education, Erb-Downward found homeless students are suspended or expelled at a rate four times higher than their housed peers who are not economically disadvantaged. Erb-Downward’s research also found one in four students who had experienced homelessness at any point during middle or high school dropped out of school. For more on the hearing.

Ginsberg Center, EMU helping older adults learn tech skills

U-M’s Ginsberg Center is collaborating with Eastern Michigan University’s Engage@EMU office to launch a program aimed at bridging the intergenerational digital divide in Washtenaw County by helping older adults learn technology skills. The Digital Connecting Corps will train students at both universities to be “tech coaches,” who will then teach older adults at Washtenaw County older-adult centers to use their smartphones, laptops and desktop computers. The coaches will work one-on-one with the participants in a virtual setting to assist them with technology in a variety of ways. Training sessions will be customizable based on the participant’s needs or interests and could include any aspect of learning to use technology. For more information.

Partnership receives $1.4M for COVID-19 intervention efforts

Michigan CEAL: Communities Conquering COVID, a member of the National Institutes of Health funded initiative Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 Disparities, has been awarded an additional $1.4 million to support an additional year of community-based COVID-19 interventions. The Michigan CEAL project was previously funded $1.4 million in fall of 2020. Michigan CEAL is a transdisciplinary partnership led by Principal Investigators Erica E. Marsh, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and director of community engagement for the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research; and Barbara A. Israel, professor of health behavior and health education in the School of Public Health, and director of the Detroit Urban Research Center. For more information.

Michigan Medicine recognized for straight A’s in hospital safety grade

The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization driven by employers and other purchasers of health care, recently announced the spring 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades. Michigan Medicine is one of only 27 hospitals in the United States to be awarded an “A” grade every grading cycle since 2012. For the 19th consecutive time, Michigan Medicine was awarded an “A” for achieving the highest national standards in patient safety. Developed under the guidance of a national expert panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses up to 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,700 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. For more on the grading system and Michigan Medicine’s achievements.

Compiled by James Iseler and Jeff Bleiler, The University Record


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