Dean’s update | November 19, 2021 – College of Human Medicine

Dean’s update |  November 19, 2021 – College of Human Medicine


Somehow it has happened again, Michigan has one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. Our hospital partners are being flooded; elective surgeries requiring hospitalization are once again delayed. If you’ve been a casual mask user for the past few months, now’s the time to start your game. The shiz has become real again. Oh, and there’s the flu, too.

When I worked at the hospital a few weeks ago, we had young people with COVID who failed oxygen in the nasal cannula, failed high-flow oxygen, and failed CPAP oxygen with pronation before we found out what COVID did to their blood vessels and corrected it. And by young people I mean people with peers in professional football.

This fits in with the stories I’ve heard this week from hospital administrators around the state. So with hospitals full, and people reading this space, pretty much everyone vaccinated, I want you all to be careful during the holidays. The risk of COVID hospitalization for the vaccinated remains low, but the hospitals are very thin. This means that the greater risk for the vaccinated is not due to COVID, but from long emergency room waits and too few hospital staff. Be careful out there.

This week, MSU celebrated its newest University Distinguished Professors (UDP). The college has three former UPD faculties (Nigel Paneth, MD, MPH, Bob Smith, MD, MS, and Asgi Fazleabas, PhD), and now has a fourth, Sue Barman, PhD, from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Dr. Barman has previously been awarded the College of Human Medicine Distinguished Faculty Award, an NIH Merit Award, and has been president of the American Physiological Society. She has a long history of scientific achievement and has been a dedicated and energetic member of the college’s education program for decades. It is such a wonderful achievement! Please pass on your congratulations to Dr. Barman!

City Hall will get a well-deserved break for the next few weeks. This Friday I’m going to meetings with partners in Detroit and next Friday it’s a public holiday. And then MSU starts and winter vacation takes the last three Fridays in December. So before the turn of the year, we only have town halls on December 3 (Karen Kelly-Blake, PhD) and December 10 (Kurt Zinn, DVM, PhD, MS and a trio of graduate students in epidemiology who help the health department with data on mask mandates).

“Giving Tuesday” is next week, but you do not have to wait until Tuesday to help our students be a Force for Good. The college’s highest fundraising priority is scholarships to help our students. While we have made changes to lower some costs of studying medicine, student debt is still an issue noted on graduate surveys that push graduates away from their chosen specialty. We also need recruitment scholarships. Every year we have students who really want to be in the College of Human Medicine and we would love to have them, but other schools offer enough scholarships to tip the balance. We want to compete for the students. So please go to the site and donate a scholarship.

Increase your masking game, consider a booster, encourage vaccination, wash your hands (flu!), Get your flu shot, and be careful.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD
Temporary dean

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