College of

Dean's Update | November 20


As we approach the holiday season, I want to express my deep appreciation to everyone who will be working during the holidays. We have staff, residents, and providers who will not get days off over the university holidays. There can be an esprit de corps to working a holiday in a hospital, but this will be a very different kind of year. Our hospitals are concerned about increasing numbers of hospitalized patients, ICU loads, and their human capacity to care for those patients. Take care of yourselves as you take care of others.

For the rest of us, the holidays are an additional risk for the spread of COVID-19, as our neighbors in Canada experienced during their Thanksgiving last month. Moving around to visit friends and families will spread the disease. Sitting around a table with others is a perfect setting for transmitting the virus. Keep to your bubble, wear masks, wash your hands, spatially distance. As the rest of the country struggles with reality, it would be a good TG to hunker down and wrestle with reality on your own.

Because of several COVID-19 related challenges facing outpatient clinics, the college is pulling first-year students from their clinical assignments for the rest of the Early Clinical Experience. Our team is, again and again, remaking the program to find useful clinical experiences for our students as we move through the end of the semester and into the next.

As you all know, the state has implemented a new series of COVID-19 restrictions, which include limits on in-person education…except for the education of health students. Because of the exception, we are able to keep our students in clinical experiences and simulation. This is a privilege, and we are determined to live up to the responsibility of this educational opportunity. Just as a reminder to the students, you should not be in clinical settings that are not safe. If the providers around you are not wearing masks or are not being careful (and we know this happens), you should either leave or discuss it with your contact at the site. You will not get in trouble with us for leaving an unsafe setting – we have your back.

Just a few quick reminders and updates for you:

  • Last week I did an update on the college, complete with slides, during the Friday Town Hall. You can find it here. Over the holidays you can binge all of this year’s Town Halls.
  • If you do binge the Town Halls, that could be a cry for help, and I want to remind you that there is help for folks who are struggling through the MSU Employee Assistance Program, CHM Student Affairs, and the college’s Culture of Caring team. The holidays can be a tough time for people, and our current circumstances likely make it more difficult than usual.
  • December 1 is Giving Tuesday, and this year the college is raising money for the College of Human Medicine Student Endowed Scholarship Fund. We need to raise more money for scholarships, so be on the lookout for more information about Giving Tuesday.

I hope you all have a healthy and safe Thanksgiving. Be thankful and grateful, and perhaps be a bit curious about the unfortunate myths and weird history (Franksgiving‽) that surround the holiday.

Wear your mask, spatially distance, wash your hands.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD
Interim Dean