Dean's Update

January 19, 2024 - Aron Sousa, MD

60th anniversary email header graphic with Dean Sousa's headshot.


Each year the college collaborates with the other health colleges (Vet Med, Osteo Med, and Nursing) and the Office of Health Sciences on an MLK speaker event. This year’s speaker was Dr. Anthony Jack of Boston University and faculty director of their Newbury Center, which “support[s] and celebrate[s] first-generation undergraduate, graduate, and professional students at BU.” He spoke about the issues of class and equity in the work of universities, which is the subject of his book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Disadvantaged Students from Harvard University Press. It was a thought provoking and remarkable talk. It was recorded, so if you missed it, I recommend it to you.

When I became interim dean the second time, I knew from the start that I would attempt to write a dean’s update each week. My goal was to increase communication in general, and I knew from my first stint as interim that I had written an update about twice a month to address news or announcements – bumping up to an update each week would be manageable. I figured a regularly timed email would allow us to batch announcements and other news and create a regular process. The Town Halls came out of the pandemic. We needed to communicate about confusing HR rules, people needed medical information, and in a matter of weeks everyone was facile with Zoom. Those first Town Halls worked well, and they continue to create good opportunities to share information and celebrate work our folks do. At this point, I’ve done about 200 dean’s updates and recorded 147 Town Halls, and it is past time to see what you think. Carol Parker and I have a survey looking for feedback on Town Hall and the Dean’s Update. Look for the announcement and link in your email.

We recently announced our search for an Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. It has been a while since CHM had anyone meaningfully in this role, and we need the help. The position is different than in times past when Clinical Affairs managed contracts and negotiated with health systems. The new, half-time role will be more focused on helping chairs and departments support faculty and represent the college when we work with HCI and the Office of Health Sciences. Applications are due to Carol Parker by January 26.

As you all know, the college’s strategic plan has a cross-cutting theme supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. I want to celebrate two of our departments and their dedication and commitment to supporting LBGTQIA doctoral students. The Department of Translational Neuroscience and the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, both within the College of Human Medicine, have consistently supported outreach efforts to the LBGTQIA+ community, especially in Grand Rapids, Mich. These two departments are collaborating to create support for doctoral students who demonstrate service to the LBGTQIA+ community. The LBGTQIA+ Community Student Scholarship in Human Medicine has been created from departmental IDC funds to function as an endowment. I asked the two chairs about the scholarship, and Rick Leach, chair of OB-GYN, told me, “We are delighted to create a scholarship that specifically acknowledges our LGBTQ student needs. This is an important step in providing financial support for our students.” Jack Lipton, chair of TransNeuro, continued, “Both TransNeuro and OB/GYN have worked together at the Grand Rapids Pride Festival. This scholarship will enable us to focus our resources on highlighting student interactions with the LGBTQIA community. By acknowledging and supporting CHM students that do important work within this vibrant community, we can bring attention to their work and in the process and help defray a small portion of their educational costs.” Funds can be added in the future by anyone in support of students doing this community engaged work.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD, FACP
Dean, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

60th Anniversary logo.


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