From the editor:

Raise the bar

Sept. 14, 2016

Ever have those moments when you start to do one thing and get distracted by something else? That happens to me all the time. I start to write one email and another pops up and I realize much later I never finished responding to the first. Or I run into Target for toothpaste and walk out $65 poorer with things I didn’t know I needed and no toothpaste. How many times have you gone down the Internet rabbit hole in some crazy direction forgetting why you logged on in the first place?

This weekend I started to make cookies, opened my refrigerator and was distracted by fingerprints. I’m not a neat freak by any means, but for some reason the fingerprints on the door just had to be cleaned. Right then. That turned into cleaning fingerprints off of everything in the kitchen. It’s not like I walk around with dirty hands – how can fingerprints be everywhere? Don’t even get me started on the prints on my phone. I can do anything with my phone except keep fingerprints off of it. Also, what was I thinking cleaning before I made cookies? Sometimes I just shake my head at myself. (I’m literally doing that right now.)

Everyone knows fingerprints are unique. Everyone also knows that fingerprints are often a way to track down criminals and solve crimes. I had never had mine taken until I traveled abroad and some countries use them at immigration points. But what if fingerprints could help keep babies healthy? What if fingerprints could be used to start kids down the path of a healthier life? A Spartan researcher is working to do just that.

MSU’s Anil Jain and his team are using biometric technology to collect the fingerprints of babies in places where traditional record keeping and identification measures are a challenge. By relying on the fingerprints of children, health providers can determine which vaccines are needed and if they’ve seen the child previously. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Life Lines, to watch a cool video about Jain’s work.

Amanda Toler Woodward is an associate professor in the MSU School of Social Work who is also dedicated to long, healthy lives for people. Her focus is the delivery of services for older adults, especially in behavioral health. She has a desire to “make the world a better place for everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, etc.” While she knows it’s a lofty goal, as a true Spartan, she says, “Set the bar high and take it one step at a time.” Read her FACULTY VOICE: Set the bar high, to learn more about her work and philosophy.

Spartans always set the bar high. Instead of taking the summer off to relax, 60 MSU students and faculty lived, worked, played and learned in Detroit as part of DETxMSU. The pilot program immersed students in the city where they worked alongside stakeholders on a variety of projects giving them experience in entrepreneurship, business, urban design and media production. Four students, Stephanie, Onwenu, Han Liang, Amal Shaaban and Rachel Wilke, took time to write about their experiences. Read the STUDENT VIEW: DETxMSU program, to learn what they have to say about their summer in Detroit.

While reading the blogs from the students, it was clear to me that while they had specific jobs to do, they found good distractions all around them. They learned about Detroit and challenged their own perceptions. They found energy, learned about their peers, met new people, thought differently and got more than they expected out of their time there.

Looking at fingerprints in a new way, searching for innovative solutions for older adult health care, learning more than what’s expected; Spartans not only set the bar high – they’re constantly raising it.

Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by Kurt Stepnitz