Dean's Update

December 2, 2022 - Aron Sousa, MD

Dean Sousa speaking at the Midland Regional Campus reception earlier this week.
Dean Sousa speaking at the Midland Regional Campus reception earlier this week.


As a college we have been a national leader in community-based education; indeed, we were the first medical school accredited as a community-based medical school. It’s always a pleasure to visit our community campuses, and this week I had the joy of visiting our Midland Regional Campus. We met with students, residents, faculty, and MSU colleagues at MSU St. Andrews research facility and the Axia Institute.

I got to see CHM alums like Paul Berg, MD (CHM ‘05), who is taking on the role of chief medical officer for the MyMichigan Health system, and catch up with Paula Klose, MD (CHM ‘86), the recently retired founding community assistant dean (CAD) for the campus. Another alum, Dave Buzanowski, MD (CHM ‘11), has taken over the CAD job for the campus and has infectious enthusiasm for our students, the community, and the college. Our visit and reception celebrated our long partnership with MyMichigan Health and the new leadership of CEO Dr. Lydia Watson, who has been a long-standing ally of medical education there. It is clear how much the students value their experience in Midland and in the communities as part of our premier Rural Community Health Program.

We are involved in community work all over the state, and it helps the university when we report that work. Many of our faculty run courses with community engagement, for example, clerkships or courses with service learning or clinical activity. The Center for Community Engaged Learning collects information on this work, and I hope you will complete their community engaged learning index survey.

The last couple of weeks have been busy for the college and its academic governance…

The university Faculty Senate unanimously approved our proposal to transform the Division of Public Health into the Charles Stewart Mott Department of Public Health. This process began last winter with the approval of the proposal by the College Advisory Council (CAC), and we expect and hope final approval will happen in two weeks when the MSU Board of Trustees votes to approve this transition. I am working with the division faculty on the search process for an interim chair and then a search for a founding chair.

At its meeting this month, the CAC unanimously approved proposals for six new departments in the college including Dermatology, Neurosurgery, Otolaryngology, Pathology, Radiation Oncology, and Urology. These proposals now move forward to university academic governance. The approval process for new departments takes most of an academic year, and I hope these proposals complete the process next semester. But, this is a big lift for the university, and we should be prepared that some proposals will be approved next fall.

I’ve done this before, but I want to put in one more shout out to the CHM faculty leading academic governance at the university level:

These faculty have been stalwart voices for our faculty and all faculty across campus. My thanks to them on behalf of a grateful college.

If you get the chance, I suggest you take a peek at the college faculty meeting recording. You will find the summary of CAC work from the semester so far by CAC Chairperson Scott Counts, PhD.  Scott’s summary includes an announcement of college faculty awards. In the days when faculty meetings were mostly in person, we had a reception for faculty awardees after the meeting, but that just does not work in the Zoom world. Instead, we will do a dinner for faculty and staff award winners this spring. You can find a list of the award winners here.

My part of the faculty meeting focused on the college’s proposed strategic plan. We distributed the plan to faculty by email on Wednesday, but you can find it here. The next steps in the approval process are a CAC decision to submit the plan to the faculty for approval followed by a faculty vote to approve the plan. I expect there will be an update on our progress soon. 

My thanks to the faculty, staff, students, and community members on the Strategic Planning Committee as well as the additional people who served on working groups. A total of 44 people in the college contributed to the plan. I also want to thank the 25 partnering institutions, hospitals, and university leaders as well as numerous students, faculty, and staff in focus groups, who were interviewed as stakeholders by our intrepid consultants from Lansing-based HLA, Nicholas Williams, and Michael Butler. They were great. And, to bring this to a close, I give my deepest respect and appreciation to Carol Parker, PhD, and Kris Stroud for organizing the entire project and making our next strategic work possible. Thank you all.


Aron Sousa, MD FACP



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