Dean's Update

May 12, 2023 - Aron Sousa, MD


On Friday evening we gather with the Student National Medical Association for the college’s annual Diversity Senior Recognition Program. We are honoring a record number of MD students at the dinner this year – the program has outgrown the Kellogg Center’s Lincoln Room, and we will be in the Big Ten A. While I will miss the Lincoln Room, it is a great achievement for us to grow into a bigger space.

Earlier in the week, the college and community partners welcomed Interim President Woodruff to Flint. Dr. Woodruff visited the Hurley Pediatrics Clinic, spoke with students, toured the facilities, met with faculty and staff, and had a conversation with some of the community partners who anchor our success in Flint. Some of these collaborators have been with the college since we started this work, including E. Hill DeLoney, Rev. Sarah Bailey, Bishop Bernadel Jefferson, Jim Buterakos, Neal Hegarty, and Ridgway White. They have been remarkable collaborators and supporters of our faculty.

For many people in Flint, the work of these teams has been transformative. As brief examples, the collaboration of community experts and faculty has transformed lives through suicide prevention, cancer screening, childhood assessments and services, and new jobs. These partnerships and the collaborative ecosystem created via community collaborations have advanced knowledge and helped change national policy.  And, these same teams have transformed lives in the community, of our partners, and of our faculty, staff, and students.

Our collaborations start from the premise that we are in our communities to stay, and we exist to help others reach their goals – that is the originating purpose of the education and health professions. We are successful when our partners are successful, be those partners students, patients, or our fellow community members. Last week, I wrote about one of our remarkable community partnerships in Grand Rapids, and just above I described our community work in Flint. I believe we are embracing a special opportunity in academia, and our community-based mindset and attitude is our unfair competitive advantage.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this update, Saturday is commencement – 184 Spartan MDs will cross the stage, eighty faculty will be on the dais, there will be hooding, and Breslin will hold so many happy and proud families and friends. We thank our faculty and staff for giving of their talents, energy, and wisdom. We welcome these graduates to the next chapter of their medical careers. And I thank you all for the work you do to support our students, faculty, staff, and community partners. It is the work of people like you that makes the College of Human Medicine such a special place to be.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD FACP



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