Dean's Update

January 22, 2021 - Aron Sousa, MD


What a week! We had a wonderful MLK event with Dr. Furr-Holden as one of the speakers. She discussed the differences between race and racism, health disparities and health inequity, equity and assurance of access to health. If you did not attend, you can still watch the event. And per Dr. Furr-Holden, “you cannot sprinkle sugar on a sponge and call it cake!”

I presume you have kept up with the week’s events, and I cannot improve on the commentary.

For all of the positives this week, the country passed 400,000 COVID-19 deaths over the last 11 months. The good news is that, nationally, cases have decreased by about 20% since January 10, and eventually that will mean deaths will begin to decrease too. This reduction in cases is probably related to better spatial distancing and masking post-holidays rather than vaccinations that have been given – we just have not administered enough vaccinations to have that impact yet.

That said, I completely encourage people to get vaccinated and please encourage others to do the same. I’m pictured getting my first shot on Tuesday from a very nice National Guard member doing vaccinations for the Ingham County Health Department at the MSU Pavilion. They do a great job! It was efficient, smooth, and easy. The vaccines are effective and remarkably safe to date.

Here are a few other items of interest:

  • You can find out more about the vaccine and health disparities related to COVID-19 in the recording of CHM Town Hall from January 22. Recordings are usually available to view the following Monday.
  • Two CHM researchers, Adam Oostema and Mat Reeves, have documented an increase in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests during the pandemic. This helps explain the overall excess mortality during the pandemic beyond known COVID-19 deaths. The lesson is, if you are sick, seek care.
  • Julia Felton and Claudia Finkelstein continue to host conversation groups for difficult times Mondays from 5-6 and Wednesdays from 12-1 for faculty and staff.
  • Because of the success of the Flint Registry, run by the MSU-Hurley Pediatric Public Health Initiative, the federal government has approved on-going funding of the program. The registry has enrolled or pre-enrolled more than 45,000 people and made 17,000 referrals for people exposed to Flint’s contaminated drinking water during the Flint Water Crisis. This is a massive accomplishment by Dr. Hanna-Attisha, her team, and our Washington, DC advocates.
  • Check out Part 2 of our series on the people behind the Early Detection Program. (And, if you are one of those people, send us your picture so we can include it in the article.)

This week I had the opportunity to talk to a group of senior MSU administrators about the College of Human Medicine. I had the chance to engage in conversation on the founding of the college and all of the innovations inherent in creating a new kind of medical school. Our growth and development over the last 15 years comes out of our founding as a community-based medical school with a focus on “Serving the People.” These opportunities to grow and develop will continue to come our way; be on the lookout for them.

Wear your mask, spatially distance, wash your hands, and get vaccinated when you can.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD
Interim Dean

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