Dean's Update

March 5, 2021 - Aron Sousa, MD


As our weather turns warmer and the COVID-19 outlook improves with the addition of a third vaccine, I think it is prudent to remain vigilant and careful. The average last frost date for most of us is late May or early June, and there are still new COVID-19 cases and deaths. Which is to say, my basil, cabbage, and kale seedlings are still in the basement under lights, and I am not yet meeting my students for an end of MCE celebratory dinner (Williams 3 EL!). That dinner will happen, and my seedlings will go outside, but I don’t think we are quite there yet.

As to the news of the week:

  • We are in need of nominations for college committees. It is hard for me to ask people to do even more than they are already doing. This year we have increased clinical productivity, grants and grant funding are up, and the curriculum has been worked and reworked over and over. So, we have done so much great work, but we do need people to serve on key committees like Admissions, University Senate, and Student Competency. Feel free to self-nominate by contacting Faith Peterson.
  • Give Green Day is Tuesday, March 16. We are focusing on raising scholarship funds for College of Human Medicine students. Our students, on average, have truly horrible debt from medical school. Over the years we have tried to reduce the cost by decreasing the length of the curriculum, removing the costs of books, working with the university to limit tuition increases, and raising scholarship funds. That last part, increasing the scholarship funding, is the most powerful action we can take in our current system. COVID-19 has hampered our work some, but this is an important effort for the students. Our faculty and staff have historically been very generous – thank you for your dedication and commitment to our students.
  • One of our own, Morteza Mahmoudi, has become a national leader in the work to decrease academic bullying of junior academicians. On March 16 he is part of a workshop striving to help address this problem.
  • This month, the Henry Ford Health System meetings are really starting to pick up. I met with their chairs this week and the governance for the partnership started its meetings as well.

It was a year ago last week that I first wrote about COVID-19 in the Dean’s Update. Last week, another member of our community lost a close family member to COVID-19 after they very recently contracted the virus. We may be making progress on the pandemic, but the virus really does not care. The virus only responds to chemistry and our behavior. We can modify the chemistry through vaccination, and we must continue to protect those around us by wearing a mask, spatially distance, and washing our hands. In particular, please get vaccinated when you can.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD
Interim Dean

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