Dean’s Update | October 29, 2021 – College of Human Medicine



This week and last, I toured the internal medicine teams. Anyone who knows me knows how much I value my time as a member of the MSU internal medicine department. (Above left: Aron; Heesoo Yoo, Internal Medicine PGY-1; Robert Edwards, Obstetrician / Gynecologist PGY-1; Chelsea Rawe, Psychiatry PGY-1; Valery Rozen, CHM MS2; and our loyal senior resident who runs the service, Rohan Prasad.)

This fortnight, of course, there has been COVID-19, but not as much as when I was last April at the height of the state’s spring push. At the time, the majority of COVID-19 care was for respiratory disease complicated by inflammation, delirium and vascular complications. This is again how I would characterize our care for unvaccinated patients with COVID-19.

Now, however, there is a group of people who have COVID-19 for the second time or who have been vaccinated, and the care of these COVID-19 patients includes greater management of the underlying health issues exacerbated by the fact. to be sick with COVID-19. For these patients, respiratory symptoms may still be present, but we are grappling more with their underlying health issues like kidney disease, heart problems, or their autoimmune disease.

On Wednesday this week, the FDA and CDC approved COVID-19 booster vaccinations for Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The CDC has a supporting data PowerPoint with some interesting graphs showing reductions in vaccine effectiveness over time to justify the boosters. Interestingly, people can now mix and match the boosters, and there is reason to believe that switching to another booster may increase your antibody response. (There is not much data on the clinical impact of this strategy.)

The vaccines for children aged 5 to 12 have been approved by the FDA Scientific Panel, and we can expect emergency use clearance from the FDA in the coming days. This was the topic of today’s town hall, which was available at all colleges and can be viewed on the College of Human Medicine website for town halls. Dr Keith English, President of Pediatrics and Human Development, and I answered about 57 questions – Keith was wonderful and people had wonderful questions!

Since my last update, LCME has approved our application for an eighth campus based at Henry Ford Hospital starting in the next academic year. This means that our current MS2s will be considering Henry Ford as part of their community missions over the coming months. We introduced our new Community Assistant Dean, Eileen Hug, DO, at a town hall three weeks ago. This is a very exciting progress and we one year ahead of the schedule! My sincere thanks to Dianne Wagner, Carol Parker, Robin DeMuth, Eileen Hug and all the teams at the College of Human Medicine and Henry Ford for this impressive achievement!

Two years ago this week, I began my second stint as Acting Dean of the College of Human Medicine. During this time, the people at the college have done so much wonderful work that I cannot relate it all correctly. Our patients have benefited from some of the best medical care available. And, our education teams have revised programs to deal with the pandemic and social distancing for students, sometimes overnight. Perhaps more importantly, our medical students were able to reunite with their patients earlier than the vast majority of medical schools thanks to our excellent faculty and community partners.

Our research teams were equally amazing during the pandemic. The number of grants and dollars continue to increase, and many people have managed to continue publishing using existing data. We all know a lot of this productivity has been achieved with time stolen, and we need to get back to something more sustainable for the future. I am very grateful for the work of our researchers and, above all, their teams.

Grants and grant dollars are an important part of how we pay the bills, expand faculty, and advance our work, but ultimately the purpose of the scholarship is to make an impact on the world. . Sometimes that impact comes through particular discoveries or analyzes, but often our most important work is that of public intellectuals helping our communities understand science and the place of science in decision-making.

Over the past two years, I have been encouraged to see our students and faculty speaking and writing for the public sphere on science and COVID. The last few years have shown that our scholarship is not limited to the discovery or advancement of a discipline. Our stock market should have an impact on the way society thinks about health and science.

A key part of the job of a great medical school is to publicly advocate for the advancement of our disciplines through our scientific and analytical efforts. Because of our community partnerships and broad disciplinary base, our college is uniquely positioned to lead national conversations about integrating public health and medicine, advancing community care, and supporting medically ill people. served everywhere. It’s a good job we can all do to help those around us.

Serve people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD
Acting Dean

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