Office of Development

COVID-19 Update, Virtual Commencement, and Inspiration

Email sent May 15, 2020


Dear Friends of Michigan Medicine,

Thank you for being among our closest friends and partners. I am sending this email to a large group later today but wanted to give you an early look.

It has now been two months since we began treating patients for COVID-19. I am happy to share with you that we had 64 COVID-19-positive patients earlier this week, a dramatic reduction from our peak of 229 a month ago. Throughout this time, I have seen the very best of humanity: in the performance of our providers and staff, in the resilience of patients, in the grace of families who have lost a loved one.

I also am seeing the challenges that the pandemic has created, in our local communities and within Michigan Medicine. In my email last week, I detailed our plan for addressing the financial impacts of the pandemic so that Michigan Medicine can best fulfill our mission now and in the future.

Your Generosity
While I wish we could move forward without any adverse impact on our employees, every examination of our financial shortfalls indicated that in addition to non-salary expense cuts, reductions in force and furloughs were unavoidable. I am grateful to you, our friends and alumni, for your generous contributions to the Employee Emergency Need Fund. The fund was established by a generous gift from an anonymous donor to provide assistance for Michigan Medicine staff and faculty members who are experiencing immediate, severe, and temporary financial difficulty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and other donors continue to make generous contributions to the fund.

The faculty and staff of Michigan Medicine also have been the beneficiaries of donations of food from local restaurants and community members. Beginning today, we are no longer accepting food donations but encourage you to continue making contributions to other area nonprofits; more information is available here.

Virtual Commencement
Today is a joyous day for our learners who are celebrating the extraordinary achievement of graduating from medical school. This year’s University of Michigan Medical School Commencement Ceremony will be different than any of us expected, but we are excited to bring the UMMS community together virtually to salute our graduating Class of 2020.

During these unprecedented times, members of the Class of 2020 have volunteered in droves to support front-line health care workers and ensure the safety and well-being of our community. The ceremony will feature remarks from our honored speaker, Regina Benjamin, M.D., the 18th surgeon general of the United States. Please join us in celebrating these graduates today:

Watch Commencement 2020 Live, Friday, May 15, 3 p.m. EDT

Celebrating Successes
Finally, please take a few minutes to enjoy a couple of videos. The first is a thank-you from medical students to the frontline. As one of the students says of the health care providers and staff who are leading the COVID-19 response, “You’ve truly shown us what courage looks like, and what it really means to Go Blue.”

The second shows us the journey of one of our nurses who was treated at Michigan Medicine for COVID-19. The story of Michelle Davis, who has been a nurse here since 1995, is a reminder of the human toll of this disease, but also is an exemplar of resilience and hope.


Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D.
Dean, University of Michigan Medical School
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, U-M
CEO, Michigan Medicine