Dean's Update

April 9, 2021 - Aron Sousa, MD


I hope you and yours are safe. Michigan leads the country in COVID-19 as a hot spot. As of today, 13 of the 15 “hottest” metro areas in the country are in Michigan. Similarly, 13 of the 20 metro areas with the fastest increase in cases are in Michigan. As you might expect, hospitalizations are also up, and we will have to see what happens with ICU admissions and deaths in the coming weeks.

Our only way to manage this outbreak is behavioral: don’t gather in groups, wear a mask, spatially distance, and get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated and helping overcome vaccine hesitancy are two things we all can do to help protect ourselves and each other.

You can help encourage the people around you to be vaccinated. The CDC has resources to help educate community clubs, churches, and organizations. Birgit Puschner, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, and I have volunteered to answer questions at the town halls of other colleges, and our two colleges will do a special COVID-19 town hall next Friday at noon. My goal in these sessions is to simply answer peoples’ questions as often as possible as a way of addressing vaccine hesitancy. Please consider talking to those around you about COVID-19 vaccines. If there is somewhere I can appear and help with this effort, let me know.

The COVID-19 vaccines in the US are safe and effective. Fully vaccinated people can rarely get the virus and could give it to at risk people. For that reason, the CDC has specific guidelines for fully vaccinated people.

Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic news:

  • The body that accredits the college, the LCME, has set the dates for the college’s next site visit. The LCME will be here March 19-23, 2023. We were expecting them in the Fall of 2022, so this is a little later than expected, but it does not significantly change our work timeline.
  • Departments and units are working to identify expenses and personnel costs related to COVID-19 since last March. There is some federal money allocated to universities to help defray these costs. There is no way we will get all that money back, but we can hope to get some if we collect good information.
  • Check out the March summary of college news. Find out about our students helping with rural vaccination, Dr. Sabrina Ford’s work on cervical cancer, and lots of other newsy items where you can catch up on Spartan women making history including our own Mona Hanna-Attisha, Stacy Missmer’s work on endometriosis, as well as students and residents in Flint helping provide more than 12,000 menstrual supplies as a part of the Period Poverty Project.

I have been following the murder trial of George Floyd’s killer. Each new witness makes the path of justice all the more obvious to me. As I read about the trial and recall the events and trauma of the last year, I want to remind us all to check in on each other and to be there for one another. In the last week, there have been yet more attacks against the APIDA communities, more gun violence, more COVID, more struggle. Also, this week, the CDC director declared racism is a serious public health threat. While overdue, this seems like progress. In more than a year of trials and trauma, struggle and grief, we persist, and we will continue to persist because of each other.

Be sure to take care of yourself and those around you. Wear your mask, spatially distance, wash your hands, and by all means, get vaccinated.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD
Interim Dean

Read more from the Dean's Update archive