Dean's Update

February 24, 2023 - Aron Sousa, MD


In the last two weeks, we have seen the best and worst of our society. The trauma, murder, and gun violence reflecting the most callous parts of our world has broken hearts and shaken many of us to our core. Yet our university and the communities surrounding us have responded with overwhelming support and selflessness. We have seen the selflessness of the police, fire fighters, and paramedics responding to the shooting, and we have seen the generosity of mom hugs, dad jokes (maybe?), and pizza as we welcomed students back. And, let me give a special shout out to the green-out with “MSU Shadows” at the MSU-UM basketball game in Ann Arbor last weekend.

We have seen the very same dedication in the college. Over the last week, our faculty, staff, and students have come together virtually, in person, in classrooms, and in the clinics. In each setting we have tried to plan ways for us to be supportive of each other. For some of us, the return to our work and learning environments is a comforting step. For some of us, the return to our work and learning environments is stressful and emotionally difficult. Our challenge as a college has been to find a balance between the two, while understanding that in the end, each of us needs to find a path back to the work that helps us reach the goals that brought us to the college.

We have many kinds of educational programs in the college, and each program has different levels of flexibility to support divergent student paths. Because the Shared Discovery Curriculum of the MD program uses progress testing for assessment, we were able to build in the ability for students to step away from the curriculum for up to five or six weeks before it gets really difficult to keep students on track. And, with the open semester after the second year, again purposely designed into the curriculum, even students who are behind have an opportunity to catch up. I want people to know there are paths forward even if the tragedy of February 13 has kept them from being able to work toward their goals in the short run.

In this week and into the next weeks, our focus within the college is on supporting people as they return, not to normal, but return to the work that helps them achieve their goals. And, as the week has progressed, there has been more and more work toward our usual goals. I think our departments and the research office did great work this week to recruit and retain faculty. Today is Thank a Resident Day, so please do so. The LCME accreditation team pushed through the last of their “to do” list resulting from the mock site visit at the beginning of the month.

And Saturday, the college and the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) welcome a hundred kids and their parents into the Secchia Center for Reach Out To Youth (ROTY). During the day, the kids and their parents will  learn about science and the path to entering medicine. Our students planned the workshops the kids will do! It has been about three years since we’ve been able to do ROTY in person, and I am looking forward to a great morning with excited and joyous children. It is programs like ROTY that show us the path toward our goals.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD FACP

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