Dean Update: May 5, 2023 | School of Human Medicine

May 5, 2023 – Aron Sousa, MD

Dean Aron Sousa and Irving Vega


This week I had the pleasure of attending a community meeting at the Michigan Alzheimer’s Contextual Factors Center in Grand Rapids. The center is his NIH grant statewide, including partners such as UM, Michigan, Wayne State University, and Eastern Michigan University. This community effort is dedicated to extending the reach and scale of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research to previously underserved communities. Wednesday night’s event was the best community meeting I’ve been to in Grand Rapids. I could feel the partnership and collaboration between the community members and the research team.

In his presentation, Mr. Irving outlined the research achievements of the last five years, including papers and scientific advances. Importantly, the results included people employed with grants from the Latinx community, the first bilingual staff member of the Michigan Alzheimer’s Association chapter, the state’s first Spanish-speaking AD support group, Western Michigan It also included expanding his COVID-19 testing to. The Latinx community during a pandemic using Spartan Spit technology developed in our own Translational Neuroscience Department.

One of the partners in this research team’s work is the university chapter of the Latin American & Native American Medical Association (LANAMA), which supports community outreach, supports research efforts, and provides English language teaching programs. I teach medical English. second language. Opportunity to sit down with dedicated students Juan Jimenez, Andrea Ramirez and Mary Ann Medina to hear their experiences on the mixing and social agenda item that should be part of every post-pandemic meeting had.

I went to the event knowing much of what was described above, but didn’t expect to meet volunteers for the Music for Dementia – Human Medicine chapter. Beatrice Lucchesi (Founder), Chris Skovira and Haleigh Czarnecki are very talented and have a great sound. Their harmonies were wonderful. The organization is committed to finding and playing music that connects with people with dementia in hopes of triggering memories and language that were inaccessible to listeners diagnosed with dementia. I was a little shocked that so much of the music these patients loved and remembered resembled my youth… During the meetings they explained their research, accompanied by songs. I played an example using a classic. (That classic is well before my youth.)

I would like to invite people to attend the CHM Spring Faculty Conference virtually on May 9th from 4-5:30pm. (Links to Zoom and the agenda are here.) The agenda contains a very extensive dean’s update and an update on the implementation of the CHM strategic plan. An update will be made again for staff, students and other interested parties at City Hall on Friday, May 26th at noon.

Dean Sousa and Anna MooreLast week, I was in Philadelphia giving a commencement presentation for ELAM (Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine). This is the premier leadership training program for women in academic medicine and medical sciences. Dr. Anna Moore completed the program this year. I was in Philadelphia for Anna’s project presentation, because ELAM asks the dean to attend her presentation on the department’s final project. One of the workshop’s goals is to foster collaboration leading to papers and grants for these visiting scientists. It’s an exciting concept and project. A multi-day workshop will be held in her October. It’s great to see how excited other deans and other her ELAM alumni are about Anna’s work and leadership. But wait. Announced last week, Andrea Wendling, MD, and Julie Phillips, MD, MPH, I’ll be attending ELAM next year, so I’ll be back in Philadelphia next spring.

serve the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD FACP


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