Dean's Update

July 15, 2022 - Aron Sousa, MD

The Green Team from the left: Aron, Kayam Gagi, MD (PGY1 Neurology), Martha Flores (CHM MS2 - Adult Wards rotation), Christina Liu, DO (PGY-1 Psychiatry), Hasaan Hayat (CHM MS2 – Pharmacy rotation), Amira Kamboj, MD (PGY-2 - our intrepid medicine senior!), Andrew Kim (PGY-1 Medicine), Akram Manda (PharmD student).


Those of you who follow this space know that I have been on the internal medicine service at Sparrow Hospital since the new residents started on July 1. I have had a great time, and the residents and students have done great work for the patients. Those of you not familiar with medical education will notice that our team has some people who are getting a medicine experience before going off to their own specialty, for example, neurology and psychiatry. We also have a nearly graduated pharmacy student helping our team. This variety of interests and skills makes the team especially good at taking care of patients and creates a great environment for students. It has been a delight to watch our second-year student give strong presentations of complex and confusing patients after working with this team. (Go Martha!)

This coming weekend is my last on the internal medicine service, and then faculty members from the Department of Medicine will take over my team and the other three MSU medicine teams at Sparrow Hospital. As a group, my department takes care of more than 60 patients a day and trains the people who will join our community as internal medicine physicians. Many of our patients are poorly insured or have no physician in the community.

Sparrow is also the Lansing home of our medical student clinical experiences. About 100 second-year students get their clinical experiences at Sparrow, which has been a dedicated education partner with us for decades. As a part of that partnership, Sparrow has been able to receive an extra $37 million in federal funding for the care the hospital delivers. That partnership has helped our students and Sparrow’s bottom line for years.

Perhaps most importantly, residents are the core of so much work our faculty do. They work on the MSU neurology and stroke teams that are essential in this community. Residents and fellows work with the MSU neonatology service at Sparrow that is as strong and safe as any in the state, which is a tribute to Sparrow and MSU. Residents and fellows staff the ICU and pediatrics floors as well. And during the COVID pandemic, there is no way the system could have worked without the residents and fellows, who soaked up extra floor and ICU service. It is an honor and pleasure to be with our resident colleagues, who do so much for our community and profession.

Now on to some important news about a leadership change in one of our departments. A month or so ago, I announced that Lee Cox is moving to the role of Research Integrity Officer for MSU and will give up the chairship of the Department of Physiology. Lee has been a great partner and advocate as chair. He has led educational work and supported the research development of young faculty and the department as whole. I will miss him as a chair, but I am happy he has this new opportunity.

After a process approved by the department, the deans have chosen and signed Karl Olson, PhD, as the interim chair for the department. Dr. Olson has been a long-term leader in the department. In addition to his research on pancreatic beta-cells, he has been a leader in the department’s educational programs and particularly the physiology undergraduate program. During the selection process, I was especially impressed and pleased by the consistent and enthusiastic support he received from his department colleagues. Physiology is a department shared across CHM, COM, and CNS, and I very much appreciate the help and support of Dean Duxbury of the College of Natural Science and Dean Amalfitano of the College of Osteopathic Medicine during the search, selection, and recruitment of Dr. Olson. The deans are discussing the structure of the search for the next chair and hope to announce that process soon.

There have been many changes in leadership and staffing as we move through the late stages of the pandemic and great resignation. So many people step up to fill absences, openings, and voids. My deepest thanks to everyone who steps up to help.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD


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