Campus briefs


Beyond Rhetoric offers road map for responding to racism as a public health crisis

Flint-area leaders and public health researchers are sharing their process for responding to racism as a public health crisis, with the goal of supporting other municipalities and organizations in addressing the links between racism and health outcomes. The Beyond Rhetoric project began in 2020 in response to Genesee County commissioners passing a resolution that formally recognized racism as a public health crisis. To guide the efforts in Flint, Lisa Lapeyrouse, associate professor in UM-Flint’s Department of Public Health and Health Sciences, joined forces with Kent Key, executive deputy director of Community-Based Organization Partners in Flint and assistant professor in the Division of Public Health at Michigan State University’s College of Medicine. With support from U-M’s Poverty Solutions, Lapeyrouse and Key convened a research team to work with community members to identify evidence-based practices and policies that promote the health and well-being of people of color. Read more about this effort.

When creating more equitable urban green spaces in Michigan, shape matters

Most southeast Michigan residents do not have equal access to urban green spaces, according to a new University of Michigan study. Researchers at the School for Environment and Sustainability analyzed data from seven counties in southeast Michigan and looked at how far residents must travel to reach a park, community garden or some other form of urban green space. Counterintuitively, the researchers found that the total area of urban green space was not an important indicator of equality. Instead, the shape of urban green space, the size of the largest green space in a census tract and the density of green space played more important roles in urban green space equality. Based on their study, published online in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, the researchers offered specific and practical suggestions for urban green space planning strategies in southeast Michigan. Read the full study.

UM-Flint names 2022 graduate as new sustainability coordinator

Jazlynne Cathey, a 2022 graduate of UM-Flint, has been named the campus’ new sustainability coordinator in the Division of Student Affairs. She will support sustainability efforts, encourage culture shift on campus, serve on the UM-Flint Sustainability Committee and support the University of Michigan’s universitywide goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. “My job is to bring awareness of what ‘sustainability’ means to UM-Flint as a whole. I can’t make that happen all on my own. I need the support of these initiatives and the willingness to engage in future trainings and events. I want us to all be equipped with the knowledge and training to put our most sustainable foot forward,” Cathey said. She will also manage the UM-Flint Planet Blue Ambassador program, which educates students, staff and faculty members about sustainability initiatives with a goal of inspiring them to become engaged and lead through personal action.

OPEN publishes new pediatrics prescribing recommendations for opioids

The Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network at U-M has released a new set of pediatric prescribing recommendations based on three years of data collection and analysis of prescribing patterns and patient reported outcomes. These recommendations add nearly 40 new procedures to our extensive list centered around pediatric surgeries. Work on this new set of recommendations began after it was determined that one out of 20 children was still receiving a prescription for opioids three months after a tonsillectomy. After getting support from Michigan Health Endowment Fund and partnering with OPEN, the team began work on creating new guidelines that help tailor opioid prescription size to pain-management needs and prevent opioid misuse in children. OPEN conducted phone interviews with pediatric patients’ families to assess pain management, satisfaction and opioid use after surgery. One common theme while conducting phone interviews was that many families didn’t understand the risk of harm in unmonitored opioid use. Read more about this development.

Team incentives keep workers from leaving gig jobs, U-M study finds

As people leave traditional 9-to-5 work for more flexible employment, what will keep them from bolting gig jobs is a greater connection with co-workers and the company, according to a new University of Michigan study. Gig jobs — similar to work by independent contractors and freelancers — allow millions of people to earn more money and set their own hours. But that autonomy and flexibility come at the expense of work identity and co-workers’ bonds, said study co-author Yan Chen, professor of information. This has resulted in some gig workers leaving their companies. For example, more than 60% of Uber drivers leave the platform in the first six months. To alleviate the problems of lack of engagement and attrition, the researchers turned to identity economics — a concept that people make economic choices based upon financial incentives and their identity — and market design to find solutions. Read more about this study.

Compiled by James Iseler, The University Record


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