Dean’s Update | June 18, 2021 – College of Human Medicine
This weekend is June 15, the earliest date the country has had to a party celebrating the end of slavery. It’s hard to understand how it took so long to establish this as a public holiday, but the lack of a widespread celebration is another element of subtle, or not too subtle, racism in society – the racism of not really think about how important ending slavery is to our country. And, since yesterday, the end of slavery is now a national holiday. For those in East Lansing, MSU has a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday at 2 p.m. on Munn Field.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas learned they had been freed more than two years earlier by the Emancipation Proclamation. By the time the Galveston slaves discovered their freedom, the Civil War was over and Lincoln was dead. (I suggest you read this story by MSU expert Nakia Parker.)
June is also Pride Month, which coincides with the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969. Pride Month has long been dedicated to activism for LGBTQAI + rights, safety and opportunities . I suggest you check out this month’s Great Diversity Rounds, featuring our very own Joel Maurer, MD. And learn about some of the controversies and complexities of LGBTQ healthcare from members of the MSU diaspora who presented a Center for Bioethics and Social Justice webinar this winter. But wait, there is more. Our students have the option of taking an elective course, LGBTQIA + Health Care, and you can take the program. (Some content is only available with access to the MSU Library.) AND we have new Pride Month Zoom backgrounds for you to download here.
At the end of the week, Spectrum Health and Beaumont Health announced a letter of intent to merge. We have been in good communication with our partners at Spectrum Health and our colleagues at the William Beaumont School of Medicine at Oakland University. Each of these conversations reinforced the need to maintain quality clinical education experiences for students at each college. It’s worth remembering that we have had over 1,400 students graduate as a result of the expansion in Grand Rapids, and I want to stress how much our students appreciate the great work of the MSU professors at Spectrum Health. The college’s work generates $ 339 million in economic activity in Grand Rapids each year.
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the decline, but the delta variant is now listed as a variant of concern in the United States by the CDC. Delta took over in the UK, which was previously dominated by the alpha variant. This same alpha variant is now the most common source of cases in Michigan and the United States. Although our current vaccines work well against delta, it appears that delta is causing an increase in hospitalizations compared to alpha among unvaccinated people in the UK. That is, make sure you and yours are vaccinated.
Serve people with you,
Aron Sousa, MD