COVID-19 Update: Henry Ford Cardiologists Find Apple iPhone 12 Deactivates Cardiac Devices, UWM’s Ishbia Donates $32M to MSU Athletic Department, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Feb. 4

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Henry Ford Cardiologists Find Apple iPhone 12 Magnet Deactivates Cardiac Devices
Cardiologists at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit have discovered that the strong magnet in the Apple iPhone 12 can deactivate implantable cardiac devices.

These cardiac devices have switches that respond to an external magnet to change how the device functions. For a defibrillator, a magnet can be used to turn the device off. For a pacemaker, a strong magnet can make the device deliver electrical impulses that cause the heart to beat out of sync, which can bring about a potentially lethal condition called ventricular fibrillation.

The iPhone 12 features a strong magnet that helps align the phone on Apple’s MagSafe accessory to maximize charging.

“Obviously, we can’t perform surgery every time we need to control one of these devices, which is why they are engineered to allow us to use strong magnets over the chest to control their function,” says Dr. Gurjit Singh, a cardiologist at the Henry Ford Heart and Vascular Institute. “So, we began to wonder if the magnet in the iPhone 12 would affect the safe operation of these devices.”

In order to find out if their suspicions were true, Dr. Singh and his colleagues took an iPhone 12 Pro and passed it over the chest of a patient with an implantable defibrillator.

“When we brought the iPhone close to the patient’s chest the defibrillator was deactivated,” says Singh. “We saw on the external defibrillator programmer that the functions of the device were suspended and remained suspended. When we took the phone away from the patient’s chest, the defibrillator immediately returned to its normal function.

“We were all stunned,” he said. “We had assumed that the magnet would be too weak in a phone to trip the defibrillator’s magnetic switch. “

Singh and his Henry Ford colleagues immediately drafted a manuscript about their findings and submitted it to the medical journal HeartRhythm, which was published Jan. 4, 2021. The findings got the attention of the FDA, which regulates medical devices, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, and most notably, Apple itself, which published a warning on its webpage on Jan. 23.

UWM’s Ishbia Donates $32M to MSU Athletic Department
Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage in Pontiac, has donated $32 million to the Michigan State University Athletic Department. It is the largest single cash gift in the East Lansing school’s history from an individual.

Ishbia is a 2003 graduate of MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business and was a four-year member of the Spartan men’s basketball team. He made the gift in honor of his parents, his teammates, and head men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo.

“On behalf of the university, we are deeply grateful to Mat and his generosity and significant commitment to a place that clearly had a strong impact on his life,” says Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., president of MSU. “This is the testimony of being a Spartan — of hard work and giving back to help all Spartans also have a transformational experience at our institution.”

The funds are will provide for an expansion of the Spartans’ athletic facilities and support career services dedicated to student-athletes, as well as to enhance the university’s athletic department overall.

The largest portion of the Ishbia commitment ($20 million) will be football-focused, providing resources to construct an expansion of the Skandalaris Football Center to include improving the football auditorium, expanding the weight room, and creating new player lockers, informal meeting spaces, and recovery modalities consistent with the country’s best programs, as well as a dining and nutrition area.

“This donation is not about me, this is to give credit to and thank coach Tom Izzo, the business school, and Michigan State University for the incredible impact they have had on my life,” says Ishbia.

Honoring the coach/player, mentor/mentee relationship between Izzo and himself, Ishbia will give $2 million towards the Men’s Basketball Excellence Fund to be used at the discretion of the head coach to support the program.

“From the first day he joined our basketball team, and in the years following, I’ve watched Mat continue to make an impact for the betterment of others, taking the lessons he learned at Michigan State and instilling them in his company,” says Izzo. “Every day, as a member of the team, Mat wanted to improve himself and others around him, knowing that on every successful team, just as in business, everyone has a part to play. He has never relented that attitude.”

Additionally, $2 million of Ishbia’s commitment will create the Spartan For Life Fund focused on leadership and career development to serve as a springboard for all student-athletes to find employment after graduation and to assist with life-long career opportunities.

“I’m extremely excited about the Spartan for Life Fund for current and future alumni,” says Ishbia. “This will create so much opportunity for the MSU family to be connected to companies looking to hire individuals with drive, a strong work-ethic, and passion. Seven of my former MSU basketball teammates are now my teammates now at UWM, including the legendary Mateen Cleaves. Mateen has made a massive impact on our team as a leadership coach helping guide our 700 leaders just like he guided me when we played at MSU together.”

The residual amount of the donation will create the MSU Athletics Excellence Fund to provide both flexible and unrestricted resources that can address needs and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

Pending MSU Board of Trustee approval, Ishbia has requested that the expansion of the Skandalaris Football Center and the Jack Breslin Student Events Center’s basketball court be named in honor of Izzo, and the southwest entrance of the Breslin Center and a display case inside be named in honor of his parents, Jeffrey and Joanne Ishbia.

Duggan Kicks Off 7th Year of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Program
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has joined community leaders, employers, philanthropic organizations, and Detroit youth to officially launch the application period for Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program.

Between now and May 1, Detroit youth aged 14-24 can visit here to apply for as many as 8,000 summer jobs.

In 2020, 8,006 Detroit youth were employed through GDYT, despite a pandemic that forced other cities to reduce or even cancel their summer youth employment initiatives. To maintain social distancing protocols, GDYT made more than 6,000 of the 2020 summer opportunities virtual.

“We never considered canceling the program for a moment because we want our young people to know the value we place on them,” says Duggan. “We are always grateful to our partners but particularly so last year. Pivoting to an entirely new program at scale in only three months was a remarkable achievement. Whatever the status this summer, we will still make sure that our youth have the opportunity to learn new skills and earn a wage.”

The program will introduce several enhancements for the 2021 program year, including:

  • Pre-apprenticeship programs that will usher youth into federal registered apprenticeship programs post-GDYT.
  • A new, GDYT CareerEdge system to streamline youth enrollment and interactive work-readiness training.
  • A GDYT App that enables instant youth communications and helps accelerate financial literacy elements.

Employers can participate in GDYT in three ways:

  • Become an employer partner by sponsoring a six-week paid work experience (up to 120 hours) at your workplace for $1,800 per youth.
  • Be recognized as an affiliate partner by directly hiring youth through an existing employment opportunity or summer employment program that you already operate.
  • Make a financial contribution to the GDYT program to support summer work experiences for Detroit youth.

In addition to becoming a GDYT employer partner, opportunities are available for mentoring a GDYT participant and for volunteering to support other program components.

FTC Received 49,627 Fraud Reports from Michigan Consumers in 2020
The Federal Trade Commission received 49,627 fraud reports from consumers in Michigan in 2020, according to newly released data. Those Michigan consumers reported losing a total of $57,506,652 to fraud, with a median loss of $250.

The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network is a database that receives reports directly from consumers, as well as from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, the Better Business Bureau, industry members, and non-profit organizations.

This year, the FTC welcomed the data contributions of the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Twenty-five states now contribute to Sentinel. Reports from around the country about consumer protection issues — including identity theft, fraud, and other categories — are a key resource for FTC investigations that stop illegal activities and, when possible, provide refunds to consumers.

Across all types of reports, the FTC received a total of 71,328 reports from consumers in Michigan in 2020.

The top category of reports received from consumers in Michigan was identity theft, followed by imposter scams; online shopping and negative reviews; credit bureaus, information furnishers and report users; and banks and lenders.

Nationally, consumers reported losing more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2019. Nearly $1.2 billion of losses reported last year were due to imposter scams, while online shopping accounted for about $246 million in reported losses from consumers.

The FTC received 2.2 million fraud reports from consumers in 2020, with imposter scams remaining the most common type of fraud reported to the agency. Online shopping was the second-most common fraud category reported by consumers, elevated by a surge of reports in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Internet services; prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries; and telephone and mobile services rounded out the top five fraud categories nationally.

Barry Sanders Inks Multi-year Deal with BetMGM as Celebrity Brand Ambassador
Detroit Lions legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders has signed a multi-year deal as a celebrity brand ambassador for BetMGM, the casino’s mobile app.

As part of the deal, Sanders will star in BetMGM’s upcoming marketing campaigns and participate in a variety of events with BetMGM customers.

BetMGM is the first official sports betting partner of the Detroit Lions, with whom Sanders played 10 seasons. He was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1997 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

“I’m excited to be a part of the BetMGM team,” says Sanders.

The former Heisman Trophy winner will engage with BetMGM players and MGM Resorts’ M life Rewards loyalty members through public and private events, both virtual and in-person. Additionally, Sanders will appear in BetMGM social media content and make guest appearances on radio and television programs nationwide.

“It’s an honor and surreal moment for all of us at BetMGM to team up with Barry Sanders,” says Matt Prevost, chief revenue officer at BetMGM. “Adding Barry to the BetMGM family brings a new level of excitement and the potential for us to create unique experiences for our customers.”

Eastern Michigan University Celebrates Black History Month with Virtual Events
Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti is offering a number of virtual, open-to-the-public events — themed “A Tribute to Our Blackness — to celebrate and reflect on Black history during Black History Month.

Among the events are:

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 5 p.m.: “What does Black History Month mean to us?” Hosted by the EMU Black Honors Student Organization in collaboration with the Honors College Programming Team. Interested viewers can attend the event through Zoom using the following credentials: Meeting ID: 847 6634 3586 Passcode: 892137

Thursday, Feb. 11, 6 p.m.: “Black Excellence in the Workplace: Financial Literacy.” CORE will virtually host presenter Tasha Danielle, founder of Financial Garden. To attend the event, contact Allacia Gibson at for the ZOOM link.

Thursday, Feb. 18, 6 p.m.: Black History Month Jeopardy. The EMU Queer and Trans People of Color Collective is hosting the chance to win prizes. Those interested can contact Nakia Lemon for the Zoom link.

Thursday, Feb. 18, 6-8 p.m.: “The State of Civil Rights in America: What Does the Future Portend?” Hosted by the EMU Africology and African American Studies department will host the event featuring Mark Fancher, staff attorney for the ACLU’s Racial Justice Project an event titled. The event will be hosted via Zoom. The link to the virtual event and passcode can be found on the Africology and African American Studies homepage.

Thursday, Feb. 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Star Lecture Series. The EMU Honors College will host the second event in its Winter 2021 Star Lecture Series, titled “An Ordinary Black Woman’s Journey toward Social Justice and Empowerment.” Presented by Peggy Trewn, an EMU nursing professor, the event will focus on social justice and empowerment. For more information on the series, visit the Honors College Star Lecture Series homepage, where the Zoom link for the event can also be found.

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m.: “Who Will Save American Democracy?  The Role of Women, Young Voters and People of Color in American Politics.” Hosted via Zoom by EMU Campus Life, CORE, and the VISION Volunteer Center. LaTosha Brown, a contributor to The New York Times op ed page and a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, will serve as the speaker. To attend the virtual event, please pre-register on the webinar registration page.

Thursday, Feb. 25, 4-5:30 p.m. “Lost Opportunity: Willis Ward, the Strike at Willow Run, and the Rise of Civil Rights Unionism in Detroit.” Hosted by the EMU History Section, Tyran Steward, assistant professor of history at Williams College and an EMU History Alumnus will be the speaker. The event can be watched via Zoom by contacting Ashley Bavery at

Ally Backs Scholarships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and Other Groups
Ally is working closely with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and other professional and university groups to spur success for Black candidates in professions by more than $1.3 million in scholarships and programs.

To address inequity in the system, Ally’s initiatives are designed to open new pathways for Black students and candidates in a variety of professions, including legal, public policy, insurance, and other roles within financial services.

“The data shows 86 percent of lawyers are white, a mere 2.4 percent of actuaries are Black, and it’s no secret financial services as a whole remains predominantly white and male,” says Reggie Willis, chief diversity officer at Ally. “We believe one of the best ways we can honor and remember our Black history is by actively working for a brighter Black future. By providing targeted financial support and mentorship at the college, post-grad and recruitment levels, we can help fill opportunity gaps and promote lasting career development.”

Cleary University Adds Varsity Esports for Fall 2021
Cleary University in Howell, with an education center in Detroit, has announced the launch of its varsity esports program, recruiting for fall of 2021 with plans to build a new arena in Cleary Commons.

“Esports” stands for electronic sports, and refers to the world of competitive, organized video gaming. Team-based video game competitions can be watched in person, or online by spectators. Five years ago, only a handful of colleges offered esports programs. In 2021, there are more than 175 member schools in the National Association of Collegiate Esports. Cleary University will fully support esports with athletic scholarships and paid coaching staff.

By launching its own esports team, Cleary University gets in on this growing gaming industry to attract students seeking to become competitive college gamers, while earning a business degree. Esports adds to Cleary’s roster of 19 varsity sports.

“This is the perfect year to start an esports program, since students can practice and compete remotely,” says Heather Bateman, vice president and dean of student affairs at Cleary. “We know students have been feeling isolated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a virtual sporting option will really benefit the students on our campus as well as expand our dynamic athletic program into a whole new and exciting realm.”

In year one, Cleary hopes to recruit 15 esports athletes, Bateman says. Recruited students will be required to be full-time students (at least 12 credits per semester) and maintain a specific GPA to be part of the team.

All inquiries related to recruitment should go to

Facebook Comments