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Dean's Update 2020-04

April 2020

A Sincere Thank You

I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for your current and continued efforts during this time of upheaval and justifiable worry. We are not only contending with a pandemic, but also attempting to continue the work of the college to prepare our next generation of Spartan DOs – our Class of 2020 students – who will be entering the state’s and country’s hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities during an incredibly unique and challenging time.

As part of this effort, the State of Michigan recently announced that our students, who receive their diplomas in May, will have the opportunity to enter the workforce sooner by applying for early licensure. Details about this will continue to be shared with all of our students who are eligible and have fulfilled their graduation requirements. In short, this means that 213 of our students will be able to start their Michigan residencies sooner, if they choose, in order to fill a great need the state is facing during this ongoing pandemic.

To our Students and Class of 2020

We will continue to position you for success. We are living in an environment that is changing rapidly, day-to-day, hour-by-hour. There is no doubt you’ve experienced challenges during your time here at MSU. But you have shown determination and great #SpartanWill. Proof of this has been your commitment to not only finish up any educational requirements, but your willingness to participate in numerous volunteer and outreach efforts to address the COVID-19 challenges that our communities are facing.

We, as a faculty, are so very proud of you all –  from first-year to fourth-year students –  who have stepped up and have been assisting in a variety of efforts including triaging patient calls in MSU Health Care clinics, collecting personal protective equipment for area hospitals or developing telemedicine programs to continue to provide care to our underserved populations. The list goes on.

For more information on available volunteer opportunities for students, faculty and staff, please visit domoa.org/can-do.

I also would be remiss if I didn’t cheer on the Class of 2020 as you helped us achieve a 99% match rate in last month’s residency match, a process that went virtual this year.  In fact, for the last four years, our college has averaged a greater than 99% match rate, a statistic that is furthered by the fact that we likely graduated the largest medical school class (of all medical schools in Michigan) this year. These are not merely numbers, but a testament to how the medical profession values the education of our students here in the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

I think it is especially noteworthy that 70% of our graduates are entering a Michigan residency program. Think about that for a moment. We, as a medical school, not only have more graduates entering a Michigan-based residency than any other medical school in the state, but this number exceeds the total graduating class size of five of the six other medical schools in the state. This combined with our long history of accomplishing this again and again since 2006, truly allows us to claim that we are Michigan’s medical school.

To our Faculty and Staff

You have also met numerous challenges with a great spirit of professionalism. Not only in the current environment, but over the past few years. From converting our curriculum to an online format in just a matter of days, to taking lessons learned and moving them forward, you have helped develop our future strategies in order for us to move forward as a college.

You also have developed, modified and now officially approved the college’s strategic plan, and we will be disseminating further information on the plan via print and several electronic communication platforms soon. As you know, the plan is focused on maximizing the student experience, and we will be prioritizing all efforts in line with that strategy.

As for today, I note that all of our efforts, such as working remotely and enforcing social distancing, has been done to meet our primary challenge, namely protecting those most vulnerable in our society from a new virus that we have little information about, but much concern. There is no doubt in my mind that these efforts have already slowed down the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Michigan. I am also confident that every day we continue to practice these strategies, it WILL result in a further decreased spread of the virus and a decreased risk to those most vulnerable. This includes our faculty, staff, students, loved ones, as well as all residents in our Michigan communities.

Finally, like you, I’m experiencing an increased amount of stress and anxiety given this new challenge. I want you to know how much your efforts mean to me, as well as the college. Please be sure to take a self-awareness moment. If you feel you need additional support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of the several resources we have in place, both within the college and the greater university.

For students, free on-line (via Zoom) counseling services are available.  To set up an appointment, you may contact one of the counselors below.

Dr. John Taylor -- taylo520@msu.edu
Rachel Reid: -- reidrac4@msu.edu
Scheduling Assistance:  Alissa Berry -- hardin24@msu.edu

Employee Assistance Program
Counseling and Psychiatric Services

In the meantime, take care of yourself, and thank you again for all you have sacrificed during this critical time.

Andy Amalfitano
Dean