November 11, 2022 – Aron Sousa, MD
Flint Public Health Youth Academy members and APHA conference attendees.
Late October and early November are the height of academic conference season, and after a few years of dreadful virtual conferences, the people I’ve seen at meetings are very happy to get together to discuss their work. We had a wonderful series of talks, posters and events at the American Public Health Association national meeting in Boston. My main job was to talk to people who might be interested in our new public health faculty positions, and I’m delighted with the interest in our opportunities.
The college’s Division of Public Health hosted a cheerful MSU reception on Monday evening. Beyond our students, staff and faculty, approximately half of the people who came to the reception were community partners, members of the Ingham County Health Department or friends of the university. and domain. It was wonderful to meet and talk with people in person.
The next day, Ella Greene-Moton, community partner and Flint resident, was elected as APHA’s president-elect. She is the first community partner to be elected APHA National President and is a long-time force in community-based participatory research at APHA. In Flint, she is a Trustee of the Community Ethics Review Board (CERB) of Community Organizing Partners (CBOPs) and Executive Consultant and Co-Chair of the Flint/Genesee Partnership, Health in Our Hands Project. This is a remarkable recognition of Ms. Greene-Moton and the talent of our community partners.
Ms. Greene-Moton is just one of the highly accomplished community partners who form the foundation of our success in Flint; She is not alone. I also had the chance to speak with Ms. De Loney, Melissa Mays, and a host of other Flint citizen scientists and public health workers. The faculty is also working on the next generation – the photo above is of the Flint Public Health Youth Academy led by our very own Kent Key, PhD.
Today is Veterans Day, honoring all who have served in our nation’s military services, including our graduates who enter the military as physicians. They choose to care for and protect those who protect us – they take the same oath as other military officers to “…uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” In watching a group of our students march past their colleagues to take this oath is very moving, and one can see their fellow students acknowledging the extra commitment of these military doctors. Their service is inspiring, and I thank them and all veterans for their service.
Over the next few weeks, I will present the main features of the proposed strategic plan for the College of Human Medicine. Last week, I reviewed the Grand Challenge proposed to improve health equity. The Strategic Planning Working Group has been working on our main goals and strategies since last spring. Not every goal or area of study can be in a strategic plan, but a good plan helps focus the college and guides significant changes in how we implement projects and use our resources. One of the main goals is “staff and faculty success,” which you will remember in the MSU 2030 strategic plan. Our goals build on the university plan, and you can see in the goals and Specific strategies below that we focus on college people. Increasing joy can be a tall order in these uncertain times, but I’m confident that together we can find ways to make college a better place to work:
- Goal – Increase joy, job satisfaction and retention for support staff, faculty and academic staff
- Strategy – Assess and address current job satisfaction and issues related to retention and recruitment; Implement individualized approaches to career and skills development that foster a sense of being valued.
- Strategy – Establish policies and practices to enhance diversity, promote equity and ensure inclusiveness.
- Strategy – Examine policies, structures and practices to promote a culture of inclusion, transparency, engagement, satisfaction and joy.
- Strategy – Revise compensation programs to improve recruitment and retention of support staff, faculty and academic staff.
- Strategy – Advance our reputation for hiring and developing talent.
- Objective – Support career growth and development
- Strategy – Develop and standardize systems for individualized career development, leadership development and mentorship among faculty.
- Strategy – Develop a roadmap that outlines career and leadership development for staff.
- Strategy – Expand and increase access to professional development for staff and faculty.
- Strategy – Promote and support the development of public intellectual work of faculty.
It says something important that we aim to make those around us more satisfied and joyful in their work. Collectively, we will do all we can to improve our policies, compensation, and structures that enable our staff and faculty. This effort will make college a better place to work. And, I want to highlight our strategies designed to make work more impactful and meaningful, namely, more professional development for staff and faculty, including in leadership and public intellectualism. In my experience, we all find work more rewarding when we see the benefits our talents and efforts bring to the world. Public health, medicine, science and the humanities all exist to make a positive difference in the world. College staff and faculty work in each of these disciplines in the hope that their work will improve the lives of others. This is how they serve, and it is the work of the quorum to help make their work better and more joyful.
Serve people with you,
Aron Sousa, MD FACP
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