Message from the President

Dr. Paul Lyons

CUSM Community and Friends,

Through all of the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, CUSM has focused exclusively on ensuring the safety of our students, staff, and faculty while fulfilling our clinical, education, and research mission. Our focus has not changed but the circumstances have shifted (and continue to shift) rapidly worldwide and within our region.

As we noted previously, CUSM recognized very early that we would need to operate with limited onsite functions including distance learning for the MD and MBS curriculum. I am pleased to recognize the extraordinary work of the leaders who have developed comprehensive plans for all core functions including education, student affairs, research, clinical care, and administrative functions. With their leadership we successfully transitioned to a distance-learning model, effectively operated through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

Throughout this period, we hoped along with everyone else that preventive and public health measures would make it unnecessary to continue these plans with the new 2020-2021 academic year. While there was much reason for optimism in late Spring, Summer brought a second wave and we are currently deep into the third—and most significant—wave. For this reason, the contingency plans we implemented in March 2020 have now been extended and we have continued the current academic year with predominantly offsite distance learning and operations.

CUSM made plans to resume face-to-face instruction and operations as soon as it was safe and feasible to do so. Faculty and staff required for essential onsite functions resumed operations at our new campus as work plans were developed to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them. All other faculty and staff continue to work from home (with appropriate technical support and accommodations) until it is safe to resume on campus.

Our third year students—those training in clinical settings—have continued to work and learn in frontline settings. We have invested in equipment, training and testing to help ensure that these students are safe and protected as they advance in their education. Our first and second year students have resumed limited in-person instruction for critical hands-on training in safe, secure small group settings. This also includes appropriate social distancing and personal protective equipment.

Over the course of events, the one clear lesson has been that predicting the future is complex and uncertain. While the approval and distribution of effective vaccines is an important new development, the situation remains fluid and difficult to predict. We will continue to monitor the situation. As soon as it is safe to resume additional onsite, in-person activities we will do so. We are, however, prepared to operate safely and effectively for as long as necessary to ensure the safety of every member of our CUSM family and those for whom we care for.

More detailed information will be shared when it is available. I want to thank our CUSM faculty and staff who have worked extraordinarily hard to create the success we have achieved thus far. I also want to thank each of you personally for your persistence, patience, and understanding. It remains humbling to watch our community come together in this challenging moment.

If you have questions, feedback, or comments I welcome your input as always.

Dr. Paul Lyons
President and Dean