Dean's Update

February 2, 2024 - Aron Sousa, MD


Aron holding MSU Dairy Store’s College of Human Medicine-Rx Kids special edition ice cream Strawberry Sweetheart.


Last week, I left you with a cliffhanger about an upcoming important announcement, and this week, I am delighted and proud to announce the MSU Dairy Store has named an ice cream in honor of Rx Kids and the College of Human Medicine. I don’t think the college has ever had an ice cream named in honor of one of its programs. More than just fun, Strawberry Sweetheart is tasty, and the Dairy Store is donating a dollar per serving to Rx Kids.

We have some new appointments and assignments to share and celebrate:

  • Amber Heard-Booth, PhD, is our new interim assistant dean for admissions. She has excellent experience in admissions as co-chair of the College of Human Medicine Admissions Committee. In that capacity she reads the packets of the applicants who come before the admissions committee. She also has great curriculum experience as the anatomy lab director in Grand Rapids.
  • Heather Laird-Fick, MD, MPH (’97), is the new director of the Office of Medical Education Research and Development (OMERAD). Heather has a long record of medical education scholarship, has been a clerkship and residency director, and has been highly involved in the ACP, AAMC, and other organizations.
  • Nagy Youssef, MD, PhD, joins us as director of the Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine based with our partner Pine Rest. Nagy has a long history of research and joins Pine Rest and the College of Human Medicine as we develop new research plans and collaborations on grants.
  • Ade Olomu, MD, MS, joined us yesterday as our interim associate dean for faculty affairs. Ade comes to the position after doing great work as the faculty excellence advocate, division chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, and vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine, as well as a remarkable career as a teacher, clinician, and scientist.

Catch up on some interesting and recent stories, including:

  • Our rural program and the story of one of our students, Eneka Lamb MS4.
  • Andre Bachmann, PhD, and his successful work to gain FDA approval of DFMO as a lifesaving cancer drug.
  • Department of Medicine faculty Chaz Hong, MD, PhD, chair, Charles Williams, PhD, and Leif Neitzel, PhD, have developed a compound that shows early promise as a treatment of brain cancers including glioblastoma.

In other news:

  • The university is providing a system utilizing the student recreation fee to the reimburse CHM students outside East Lansing/Lansing for gym/recreation memberships up to the level of the student recreation fee. My thanks to the EVP for this new effort, and we will have more details when they are available.

Finally, I am sad to announce the passing of Al Sparrow, MD. Dr. Sparrow joined our faculty in 1972 as a pediatric cardiologist and served as chair of our Department of Pediatrics and Human Development from 1991-2001. During his College of Human Medicine career, he worked with many professional organizations, saw patients, taught students, and did research until his retirement in 2011. He was important to so much of our work and to so many of our people.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD, FACP
Dean, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

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