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Immigration seminar set for March 23

Recent changes to U.S. immigration laws will be the topic at an informational immigration seminar sponsored by the Paralegal Studies Program.

The event will take place Thursday, March 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Health and Human Services Building Room 1711.

The seminar will focus on general immigration rules and international student visa status; immigration updates under the Trump administration; ramifications to immigration status for those charged with a crime; and the rights and responsibilities of international students after graduation.

The guest speaker for the event will be Tracy Schauff, who has more than 20 years of experience in immigration law, from the Fakhoury Law Group.

“Today, the number of foreign-born residents living in the United States on a long-term basis is the highest it has ever been,” said John J. Schlageter, program director and senior lecturer of the Paralegal Studies Program. “Immigration law and policy has a dramatic impact on the foreign born, their family members, and the U.S. workforce.”

Schlageter said that since immigration law is never static and societal goals and public priorities are always changing, the information that will be presented in the seminar is even more valuable.

“This information is of value to everyone, regardless of their nationality. Faculty and staff need to be informed so that assistance can be given to any student who may inquire,” Schlageter said. “Students should be informed so that trips to country of origin can be better planned. Doing so will cause less confusion upon re-entry to the United States and will continue the University’s goal of creating a memorable educational experience.”

Lunch will be provided for the first 50 people at the free event, which is open to faculty, staff and students.

Mock trial team brings regional trophy back to UT

The UT Mock Trial Team is continuing a tradition of excellence. Over the years, the team has earned national championship titles 10 times, and may be on its way to another.

“After their outstanding performance at the regional tournament, The University of Toledo’s Mock Trial Team has received a bid to represent our region at the Opening Round Championship,” said John Schlageter, coach of the team, program director and senior lecturer for the Paralegal Studies Program.

Members of the UT mock trial team posed for a photo after winning a bid to the Opening Round Championship Tournament at the Cleveland Regional Tournament. They are, from left, Joshua Yeager, Kyle Zapadka, Travis Peterson, Taylor Sanders, Colleen Anderson, Andrea Bonds, Elizabeth Layhew and Rachel Schneider.

UT went head to head with 16 other schools, including Case Western, Ohio State University, Cornell University, and Michigan State, at the competition Feb. 25 and 26 at the Cleveland Justice Center.

The team is preparing for its next competition, practicing case materials in the McQuade Courtroom in the Health and Human Services Building. Both the regional and championship tournaments consist of four rounds of competition, in which teams are required to perform twice as plaintiff and twice as defense.

The American Mock Trial Association hosts the competitions from February through April, alternating between a civil case and a criminal case each year. This year, teams are representing both sides of a civil case for wrongful termination. Each round must consist of three witnesses and three student attorneys, as well as one direct and one cross-examination.


Schlageter noted that participation on the team is open to and benefits all majors: “The mock trial experience is a value-creating activity open to all students regardless of major. Team members must demonstrate abilities to communicate meaningfully, persuasively and creatively to a jury. Communication students may learn how to speak effectively in public. Theatre students may learn how to perfect their craft playing the role of attorney or witness. Business students may learn how to give a persuasive presentation. Any student that desires to master the ability to communicate meaningfully, persuasively and creatively with different audiences through written, oral, numeric, graphic and visual modes would benefit greatly through mock trial.”

The Opening Round Championship will be held Friday through Sunday, March 24-26, in Hamilton, Ohio.

“I am very proud of the dedication and hard work exhibited by our team. Our team is committed to getting even better in preparation for the upcoming championship tournament,” Schlageter said. “These students bring back an understanding of the high regard our judicial system merits and the protection it affords all of our citizens.”

Partners Against Trafficking in Humans assists victims on path to recovery

A $75,000 grant from the Toledo Community Foundation made to The University of Toledo will support the work of the Partners Against Trafficking in Humans Project.

The project aims to help move victims of human trafficking to survivors and survivors to thrivers through a coordinated, transparent and data-driven response, and is coordinated and overseen by the UT Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.

Fanell Williams, project coordinator of Partners Against Trafficking in Humans in the UT School of Justice, said the project is based on a modified replica of the Pathways Model, which addresses the issue of Ohio’s infant mortality rate and works to improve birth outcomes in low-income, high-risk African-American mothers. This is also the first project in the nation to implement the Pathways Model to study a local community’s response to human trafficking.

“The goal of Partners Against Trafficking in Humans is to become an evidence-based model that can be used nationally for providing the best care coordination to assist victims of human trafficking on their path to recovery and restoration,” Williams said. “Creating a system of services that has the potential to restore individuals to the level of mental, emotional and physical well-being and economic stability they would have reached had they not been trafficked is a huge part of the vision.”

The project focuses on five main objectives: train professionals to increase their ability to identify and engage with victims of human trafficking and trafficked clients; provide highly trained care coordinators to effectively assess and intervene; produce high-quality individualized service plans and services that address individual needs; determine barriers and strengths and service delivery using a data-driven process of evaluation and response; and identify the continuum of care of victims to survivors and survivors to thrivers through continued data analysis and feedback.

Partners Against Trafficking in Humans has worked with several Lucas County organizations, including the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio, the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition, as well as numerous social service agencies that provide support, social, legal and health-care services.

According to Williams, local agencies can become approved partners by receiving training on human trafficking and/or trauma-informed care, signing a memorandum of understanding, and by providing a point of contact that will join the coalition and guide care coordinators and clients through their system of services.

Over the span of nine months, 800 professionals from criminal justice, health care, mental health and substance abuse, and various social services, have been trained on human trafficking, trauma-informed care, and the Partners Against Trafficking in Humans Model. The project is based in Lucas County, but will be expanded to other counties and states in the following years, according to Williams.

Through Partners Against Trafficking in Humans, 10 services have been identified as extremely beneficial for victims of human trafficking: trafficking education; legal; basic needs; injury, impairment and supports; mental health; services for dependents of clients; substance abuse treatment; support systems and life skills; empowerment; and health care.

“Partners Against Trafficking in Humans, in just the name, lets us know this is not a one person or one organization effort. This coordinated and collaborative response to human trafficking puts a mandate on local organizations to partner together to move a victim to survivor to thriver on her or his individual path of healing and recovery,” Williams said. “We know the cliché, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ It takes a community to work together in an organized manner to combat an issue while creating and sustaining positive change.”

Doctoral student receives award from Gerontological Society of America

Jennifer Perion, a doctoral student in the Health Education Program in the School of Population Health, received a student award from the Gerontological Society of America at its Annual Scientific Meeting for her thesis topic on “The Effect of Friendship on Malignant Social Psychology in Persons With Dementia.”

Perion chose her topic after observing dementia firsthand as her grandmother passed away from it and her mother-in-law lives with the condition.

Jennifer Perion, a doctoral student in the Health Education Program, received one of five poster awards presented to Gerontological Society of America student members. She presented her research on “The Effect of Friendship on Malignant Social Psychology in Persons With Dementia” at the society’s annual scientific meeting.

“I have observed social behaviors directed toward my mother-in-law that place her at a disadvantage and diminish her abilities,” Perion said. “I decided to research these negative behaviors and attempt to understand ways to overcome them. Friendship, which is voluntary in nature, offers opportunities for reciprocal exchanges that might help individuals feel more positive in their social interactions.”

For her research, Perion worked with the local Alzheimer’s Association, where she conducted face-to-face interviews with 10 individuals with dementia.

“I asked them about changes in their social relationships after memory loss. I then asked them about their friends and opportunities for reciprocal exchanges among their friendships,” Perion, a part-time instructor in the School of Population Health, said.

These interviews revealed five themes related to dementia and friendship, Perion said: recognizing the importance of longevity in friendship; helping one another is a normal part of friendship; feeling “alive” through the give and take in friendship; knowing somebody is there for them; and seeking security through friendship.

“A lot of focus is put on the medical and financial aspects of dementia care, but it is equally important to consider the quality of life experienced by these individuals,” Perion said. “These themes suggest that there are opportunities to improve the lives of persons with dementia by encouraging the continuation of existing friendships and providing fulfilling social experiences.”

Only five poster awards were given out by the Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization to Gerontological Society of America student members who had an abstract accepted for presentation at the conference. 

“Receiving an award from an organization that is the driving force behind advancing innovation in aging — both domestically and internationally — is a great honor,” said Dr. Victoria Steiner, associate professor in the School of Population Health and assistant director of the Center for Successful Aging. “Jennifer’s research provides insight into ways to improve the well-being of the growing number of individuals with dementia in our country. It makes me proud as a faculty member to see one of my students excel in an area that she is passionate about.”

The Gerontological Society of America is the nation’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education and practice in the field of aging.

Drug Free Action Alliance awards UT grant for effort to raise smoking age

The University of Toledo received a $2,500 grant from the Drug Free Action Alliance with funding from the Ohio Department of Mental and Health Addiction Services as part of the #PUSH4Prevention Community Stipend.

Dr. Tavis Glassman, associate professor in the School of Population Health, is one of nine recipients across the state out of several dozen applicants that will use the funds to implement or enhance prevention programs in their communities.

UT was awarded the grant to advocate for the adoption of a citywide ordinance restricting the purchase of tobacco products to those ages 21 and older through a social norms campaign and summit.

“We are excited to be a part of a national movement to reduce tobacco use in our youth,” Dr. Amy Thompson, health education professor and co-director of the UT Center for Health and Successful Living, said. “The goal of Tobacco 21 policies is to keep today’s young people from being the next generation of smokers so they can live longer and healthier lives.”

Other recipients are the Wood County Prevention Coalition, Wright State University, the University of Cincinnati, Ohio Northern University, the Fayette County Prevention Coalition, Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Awareness of Morrow County, CIRCLE Coalition of Wayne County, and Community Action for Capable Youth in Richland County.

“We had many great applications, and I know that the recipients will do an excellent job of reducing substance misuse in their communities,” Marcie Seidel, executive director of the Drug Free Action Alliance, said.

‘Partners for Healthy Women’ to focus on knowledge, empowerment

For many women, life can sometimes get in the way of taking care of both physical and mental health. Whether it’s building a career or raising a family, it can seem like there’s always something in the way of taking time for themselves.

Women 30 and older 30 and older are invited to attend the Partners for Healthy Women Conference, sponsored by St. Luke’s Hospital, Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio and the UT Center for Health and Successful Living, located on Main Campus.

“The purpose of this event is to equip women with knowledge that will empower them to live healthier lives. We want to improve the health, wellness and quality of life of all women living in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan,” said Dr. Tim Jordan, professor in the School of Population Health and executive co-director of the Center for Health and Successful Living. “We want each woman in attendance to walk away with new knowledge, new inspiration and new motivation to put into practice those things that they learn at this conference.”

Jordan explained how the topics being addressed relate to women in this age group: “We have chosen topics that touch on some of the most prevalent and pressing health issues for women over 30, including heart disease, cancer, menopause, diabetes, physical activity and living with loss.”

The conference will take place Saturday, March 18, in St. Luke’s Hospital Auditorium. Sign in and breakfast will begin at 8:15 a.m. Sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A variety of health vendors also will be present to offer free health screenings. Special guest speakers from The University of Toledo will be Jordan; Dr. Amy Thompson, professor in the School of Population Health and co-director of the Center for Health and Successful Living; and Kerri Knippen, registered dietitian and nutrition instructor.

Registration is required in advance. Registration cost Registration for the event will be held at 8:15 a.m., with the session running from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Cost to attend is $10 and includes a continental breakfast as well as a catered lunch.

To register, call 419.897.8484 or send an email to contactus@stlukeshospital.com.

“Women’s health issues should be a priority for all of us,” Jordan said. “Considering the prominent roles that women play in society and in our families, it is very important that women are equipped with accurate health knowledge that will help them to improve their own health and also the health of their friends and family members.”

UT selected as one of six partners in U.S. to join first research network on misdemeanor justice

The University of Toledo has been selected to join a new national research network to study trends in low-level crimes to inform smarter criminal justice policies that enhance public safety, increase public trust in police, and save tax dollars.

The Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice is run by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and funded by a $3.25 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

UT is one of six universities in the country to join a national research network to study trends in low-level crimes. The study started in New York City.

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice began focusing on misdemeanors in New York City years ago and is expanding the study’s scope to include six other cities. UT received a three-year, $169,000 grant to analyze local data and work with research institutions throughout the country.

In addition to Toledo, joining the new national alliance with New York City are Los Angeles, Seattle, St. Louis, Durham, N.C., and Prince Georges County in Maryland for a total of seven jurisdictions throughout the country working together.

“The University of Toledo is proud to be a part of this pioneering national project to inform policy discussions and reform because misdemeanors are the bulk of what police officers deal with every day, but there is not much research on it,” said Dr. David Lilley, assistant professor of criminal justice and the research director of the misdemeanor justice project at UT. “The vast majority of arrests are low-level offenses that carry a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail, such as drug possession, petty theft, simple assault and driving on a suspended license.”

Misdemeanors accounted for approximately 90 percent of total arrests by Toledo police officers in 2015 when there were 22,463 misdemeanor arrests and 2,296 felony arrests.

“Misdemeanors are the lion’s share of the charges that we usually bring against suspects,” Toledo Police Chief George Kral said. “I’m hoping this study gives us more ideas on what works and what doesn’t work. That valuable intelligence will help me change policy, if necessary, to make the whole process more efficient, keep the community safe, and give defendants the help they need. If we could nip it in the bud at the misdemeanor level, we could stop someone from escalating to felonies in the future.”

Toledo was chosen as part of the misdemeanor study out of 39 that applied, in part, because of the collaborations UT researchers already have with local law enforcement and the ongoing criminal justice reform efforts underway in Lucas County.

“We are one of the smallest cities on the list, but one of the factors that puts us ahead of the curve is that we have been doing this type of data analysis at UT for years by working with the Toledo Police Department,” said Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, associate professor of criminal justice, director of the Urban Policing and Crime Analysis Initiative, and principal investigator for the misdemeanor justice research project at UT. “TPD’s advanced data system is one of the best. Being chosen for John Jay College’s misdemeanor project is an honor that rewards our teamwork.”

UT researchers say many police agencies across the country do not know how many misdemeanor arrests result in incarceration.

“Part of what we’re doing is taking a close look at the outcomes and conduct cross-site analyses to figure out how to increase efficiency and effectiveness,” Lilley said. “Are people ending up in jail? Fined? Are charges dropped because the system is overburdened or there is not enough evidence? Are suspects going through a diversion program, such as drug court? Our research alliance will examine trends and outcomes of misdemeanor arrests, summonses, pedestrian stops and pre-trial detention at the local level.”

The University of Toledo will work with the Toledo Police Department, Northern Ohio Regional Information Systems and the Toledo-Lucas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council as part of the project.

“Hopefully, this research will help guide new alternatives for individuals that may need help instead of punishment,” said Holly Matthews, attorney and executive director of the Toledo-Lucas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. “We’re working on reducing our jail population by 18 percent. This misdemeanor project is going to help show the trends over the last three or four years — especially with the opioid epidemic — that we’re seeing locally. We have already been working proactively with the Lucas County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board to address other options besides incarceration for individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues.”

Research partners for the Misdemeanor Justice Project also include the University of California in Los Angeles, North Carolina Central University, Seattle University, the University of Maryland and the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

“To see the work of the Misdemeanor Justice Project expand from New York City to six other jurisdictions is very exciting,” said Dr. Preeti Chauhan, assistant professor of psychology at John Jay College and principal investigator of the research network. “We are looking forward to replicating the New York model to these sites and believe the results will guide smarter criminal justice reform.”

“The network has generated an outpouring of academic and government interest in pioneering a national conversation around enforcement of lower-level crimes — something that leads a large number of individuals to enter our justice system,” said Matt Alsdorf, vice president of criminal justice for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. “We are proud of the diverse U.S. cities leading this conversation, and we look forward to learning how the research partnerships inform local and national justice policies for the long term.”

Physician/author to discuss health and race

Being black can be bad for your health — Dr. Damon Tweedy wrote about hearing that as a first-year medical student at Duke University in 1997.

His book, “Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine,” became a New York Times Bestseller and was one of Time magazine’s top 10 nonfiction books in 2015.

Tweedy

“From the beginning of life to the very end — and everywhere in between — African Americans continue to experience disproportionately worse health outcomes,” Tweedy said. “You can name pretty much any disease, and you’re likely to find that it’s either more common in black people; black people who get the disease have a worse course; or both of these conditions. There are a lot of factors involved with this, and I explore many of them in my book.”

Tweedy will discuss race and health disparities Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. in Collier Building Room 1200.

For several years, the assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and staff physician at the Durham Veteran Affairs Medical Center has written and lectured on race and medicine. His articles have been published by The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post, as well as by several medical journals.

In his book, he wrote, “Whether it is premature birth, infant mortality, homicide, childhood obesity or HIV infection, black children and young adults disproportionately bear the brunt of these medical and social ills. By middle age, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney failure and cancer have a suffocating grip on the health of black people and maintain this stranglehold on them well into their senior years.”

“I wanted to put a human touch to these issues of racial health disparities — examining how this impacts real people in everyday life,” Tweedy said. “Many people are more likely to engage in these issues when they are presented as stories rather than simply as statistics.

“I also wanted to explore some of the unique challenges faced by African-American doctors — a largely unexplored perspective in popular medical narratives,” he added.

His free, public talk is sponsored by We Are STEMM, a UT organization dedicated to empowering and inspiring students from underrepresented populations who are interested in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. Led by faculty and staff, the group celebrates and supports diversity in several UT colleges: Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Engineering; Medicine and Life Sciences; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Health and Human Services.

“I found Dr. Tweedy’s book to be inspirational. While it reveals a story often heard in the community of underrepresented groups pursuing higher education, I think he has been able to deliver many aspects in a manner that may be enlightening and perhaps more palatable to those freed from this ‘experience,’” said Dr. Anthony Quinn, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and chair of We Are STEMM.

“In contemporary society, there is the perception that history can be wiped clean with a single piece of new legislation — no need to deal with lasting psychological scars inflicted by past overt and covert policies or the entrenched social norms that are retained and vigorously guarded for generations in spite of new laws,” Quinn continued. “Dr. Tweedy brings out the adverse and lasting impact that discriminatory practices can have on individuals and society long past the time of those who initially implemented them.”

Tweedy’s talk is one of the University’s events scheduled for Black History Month.

Program to help area homeless and their pets

A service fair for people who are homeless and have animals in Toledo will be held Saturday, Feb. 18, to provide free vaccines, minor medical exams and treatment, animal care supplies, and basic dog training.  

The fair will take place from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Cherry Street Mission Ministries’ Life Revitalization Center, 105 17th St., Toledo.

My Dog is My Home, a national nonprofit that helps communities meet needs of people who are homeless and have companion animals, is working with several local agencies to present the event. 

After reading a story in The Blade last summer about a woman who became homeless and her dog, Dr. Janet Hoy was moved to take action.

“I invited the director of My Dog is My Home to Toledo and initiated a meeting with community agencies to explore how we could do better with this in Toledo,” Hoy, UT associate professor in the School of Social Justice, said.

“We also will be doing research at the event to better understand service needs,” she added.

Christine Kim, director of My Dog is My Home, said, “Understanding the scope of the problem opens new doors for creating policies and services that target this special population. We are hoping to add depth to that understanding through the information we collect at the service fair.”

The ultimate goal, according to Kim, would be to initiate the development of a co-sheltering infrastructure within Toledo’s homeless service system.

Partnering with My Dog is My Home for the service fair are UT, the Toledo Area Humane Society, Humane Ohio, Toledo’s PET Bull Project and Cherry Street Mission Ministries. The Toledo-Lucas County Homelessness Board also has provided support.

Donations of supplies — dog and cat food, toys, leashes, etc. — are being collected by Hoy and may be left outside her office, which is in Health and Human Service Building Room 2610.

My Dog is My Home is seeking donations for its generosity campaign to raise funds for vaccines, flea and tick treatment, and spay/neuter vouchers.

Those interested in learning more about the event, including volunteering, may contact Kim at christine@mydogismyhome.org.

Criminal justice and legal specialties career/internship fair Feb. 2

The University of Toledo Criminal Justice and Paralegal Studies programs will host a career and internship fair Thursday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

criminal-justice-fairRepresentatives from nearly 90 agencies will be available to meet with students interested in law enforcement, corrections, social work, probation and legal specialties.

Students of all majors are encouraged to attend and meet potential employers, including the FBI; police departments throughout Ohio, Michigan and Indiana; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency; Marshall & Melhorn LLC; and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“Students should dress professionally and bring a resumé,” Dr. Wendi Goodlin-Fahncke, associate professor of criminal justice and director of the Criminal Justice Undergraduate Program, said. “Even if you’re not looking for a job or internship, this is a great opportunity to network for the future.”