Dean’s Update | August 6, 2021 – College of Human Medicine


This week, I had the pleasure of meeting with the right folks from Academic Affairs to recognize and celebrate ten colleagues who retired during the pandemic. We gathered outside at Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge, which was lovely and remarkably mosquito-free, if not as central between Grand Rapids and East Lansing as our more usual midway meeting place, the Wagon Wheel of Portland. The park was lovely and the people, as always, were the best!

As you all know, I have been working in academic affairs since 2005, with a few years here and there in various acting roles. Some of our retirees have been at MSU for almost 40 years – these are the people who have handled the admissions of thousands of doctors; study programs with staff, campus and simulation; programs written and taught to thousands of students; and led national organizations and supported colleagues across the country and particularly here at MSU. Fortunately, some of these people are hanging around a bit to help us out (thanks, Brian!).

Starting Monday, August 9, our new Early Clinical Experience students begin their orientation in person, masked, vaccinated or soon vaccinated at the College of Human Medicine. While UME Student Affairs and Academic Affairs offices do all the orientation work, I will put on my mask, coat and tie, find presentable shoes, and welcome these students to college and profession. Orientation runs through August 20 and on August 22 we’ll be together again for a masked white coat ceremony in Grand Rapids with a small group of hard-working sleepers.

Our MCE students have been in clinics, simulations and virtual groups since early July, but they too will soon be training their small and large groups in person. I have had the pleasure of doing large group sessions on sodium / water and calcium / magnesium / phosphorus for the past two weeks – students and colleagues have been very patient with me and my Drawing skills. It will be so good to have the classes in person again. The mandate of the MSU vaccine and mask allows us to more easily estimate a normal fall semester.

And more:

  • Later this month, the College Advisory Board will hold its first meeting of the year, and this semester, the CCC will have important work to do regarding departments, our partnership with Henry Ford Health System, and initial work on the college strategic plan.
  • This will be the first year of the new Dean’s Diversity Advisory Committee, which begins this fall. Be on the lookout for the call for nominations and consider nominating a colleague or yourself.
  • Since clinical sites request vaccination verification, the college will collect vaccine information from students in addition to the required academic credentials from all MSU staff, faculty, and in-person students. Students will be receiving the college survey soon. Discover the university Faq on vaccines and masks mandates.

While MSU has a mask mandate, I encourage you to follow CDC Guidelines to wear a mask when you are indoors and in public if you are in a county with “substantial or high“COVID-19 levels. As of August 5, the number of Michigan counties in these categories has increased – Kent County is “moderate” and Ingham County is “large”. At town hall last week, a participant asked in chat for proof that the masks work, and I refer anyone interested in this question to The impressive collection of the CDC community studies.

As always, wash your hands, wear a mask indoors in places with significant or elevated COVID-19, be vaccinated and get your teenagers vaccinated.

Serve people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD
Acting Dean