Dean's Update

June 25, 2021 - Aron Sousa, MD


In 2019, when I became interim dean the second time, I started visiting clinics to meet people and to inquire about quality and safety efforts. Up until the pandemic, I was pretty consistently visiting clinics, and I’ve started doing those again including some visits as part of MSU Health Care’s leadership rounds effort.

The clinic I visited last week has been overall doing well, but dealing with patients and families during the pandemic has been difficult for our people. These staff have not been working from home during the pandemic. They have been in clinic each day, all day, in a mask, wiping down contact surfaces, helping people get care, and helping families follow the masking guidelines. It’s been a lot. My deep appreciation to all of those staff who continue to show up each day helping our patients and providing the opportunity for our faculty and learners to do their work.

I am delighted to announce that Eileen Hug, DO, will be joining us as our community assistant dean (CAD) for our upcoming campus based at Henry Ford Hospital. Dr. Hug has been in UME and GME leadership for 25 years. Dr. Hug is a board-certified pediatrician who went to the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and did her residency training at Henry Ford Health System and Beaumont Hospital. Currently, she leads UME at Henry Ford including responsibility for the experience for all medical students at Henry Ford. She has been great to work with over the last six months as we put the campus together. She has helped us formulate our LCME submission for the campus and will continue to work on accreditation and programming for the college as CAD.

As you know, we did a virtual graduation in 2020, and both in person and virtual graduations this year. The university will soon announce centralized plans for “make-up” commencements for 2020 graduates. We will join the other colleges in celebrating 2020 PhD, MS, MA, and MPH graduates in the advanced degree ceremony this fall.

For reasons of scheduling and programming, the college has decided to stay with its original plan to invite 2020 MD graduates to the Spring 2022 graduation in May. We will be able to do our usual hooding ceremony and it will be scheduled on a weekend, which will hopefully be easier for people to join. If you are a 2020 MD graduate and cannot make it to the Spring 2022 commencement, then join us in 2023, or 2024, or 2024 + n. If there are a lot of 2020 graduates interested in coming back for commencement, we might do two ceremonies in some years; and, if there are just a few, we will probably include those 2020 grads as part of the usual ceremony. It would be good fun for there to be a 2020 graduate coming back to get hooded as they retire in, say, 2060. I won’t attend, but it would be brilliant!

We continue to work toward as normal a fall as possible. The delta variant continues to increase in the US, and in a few more weeks, the delta variant will supplant the alpha as the dominant strain here. This is a real concern for the unvaccinated among us. Delta (and delta plus) is more transmissible and probably causes more serious disease than alpha, which was more transmissible and serious than our original variants. Our friends, families, and neighbors from Brazil and South America are encountering the horrors of the virus and governmental ineptitude that has cost so many lives around the world. The vaccines in the US cover delta, so to protect yourself and those around you, please encourage vaccination.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD
Interim Dean

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