Nineteen of the OUWB Class of 2023 Inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

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Nineteen medical students from the OUWB class of 2023 have been inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Society October 25.

The event took place in person at Oakland University’s Meadow Brook Hall for the first time since 2019. Presentations were given by Duane Mezwa, MD, Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB, and Pamela Benitez, MD, Advisor and secretary of the AOA Delta section.

The keynote address was given by Betty Chu, MD, Senior Vice President, Associate Clinical Director/Quality Officer, Henry Ford Health System. Among other roles throughout her career, Chu also served as the founding chair of the OUWB executive committee.

The inductees join the 130 former members of the OUWB AOA. Mezwa highlighted two: Ashley Guthrie, MD, ’15, who recently opened a practice near Nashville; and Brandon LuczakMD, ’15, who recently joined practice in Brighton.

“Stories like this will be told about each of you,” Mezwa told the AOA’s newest inductees. “By being selected as members of the AOA, you have proven yourself to be compassionate leaders who have achieved distinction and scholarship, and a selfless dedication to serving others.”

“You are recognized for having an undeniable drive to advance the medical profession with honorable conduct and ethical ideals,” he continued. “I look forward to the day you make your mark in medicine.”

A “very personal” recognition

The AOA is an international society recognizing students, alumni, and faculty who are committed to the medical profession. Approximately 3,500 people are inducted into this society each year.

The AOA has 135 chapters in medical schools across the United States and has inducted more than 200,000 members since its founding in 1902.

More than 50 Nobel laureates in physiology, medicine and chemistry have been members of the AOA. More than 30 of them were elected to the AOA before winning the Nobel Prize.

Eligible students must belong to the next promotion of a school. Only the top 25% in school results are invited to apply. Of these nominees, the top 16% are selected for induction based on academic awards, leadership, awards received, research conducted and published, and community service. A selection committee makes the final decision.

The OUWB holds its induction ceremony each year in the fall. For 2020 and 2021, the event was held virtually.

An image of a student getting pinned at the AOA
Benitez gives Elizabeth Seeley her AOA pin at the ceremony.

“It’s very personal to be able to recognize and honor them for the work they’ve done and what they’ve achieved,” Benitez said. “It’s a way of saying, ‘We know you really did something.'”

Speaking to the inductees, Chu focused on ways to go even further in their respective careers. Specifically, she advised them to each define their own purpose, the power of “saying no so they can say yes” and the importance of being effective communicators.

Prior to the ceremony, Chu said the general hope of his presentation was that students would take away the importance of having a definite purpose in life.

“It’s not about a specific title or amount of money or goal, it’s about what they’re trying to accomplish overall,” she said.

“A great honor”

Students generally expressed feelings of being honored and excited.

“To be surrounded by so many incredible students at Oakland University’s William Beaumont School of Medicine and to be honored among this elite group…it means a lot,” said Brent Yelton.

He added that “it makes you really proud of all the hard work you’ve done over the past four years, whether it’s through community involvement, doing well in class, and just good harmony.”

Hayley Walton said it was “really exciting” to be inducted.

“It’s an honor that I can take with me,” she said. “My fellow physicians will be able to recognize that and know that I am a hard worker and can get things done. I feel honored to be part of this esteemed group.

Skyler Porcaro also called “a great honour”.

“With COVID and all the changes we’ve been through, it’s great to be on the other side of things and see the success we’ve been able to achieve,” he said.

Porcaro also said it was nice to be recognized for “all the little things we were able to do in medical school (that) add up to a big picture.”

Yasmine Abushukur said she was delighted to be inducted.

“It means a lot,” she said. “I feel like we’ve worked so hard over the past four years and it’s finally starting to happen.

Andrew Shanholtzer also said that the AOA induction “means a lot”.

“It’s a nice culmination of all the hard work we put into medical school,” he said. “It demonstrates our commitment to leadership, service and teaching, so I’m really happy to be part of Alpha Omega Alpha.”

For the parents present, it was an opportunity to share their pride.

“We are very proud of our daughter,” said Sundus Jabro, mother of Stephanie Gappy. “She always amazes us with her performance, both academically and otherwise.”

Jabro called the induction ceremony “a great thing the school does for the students.”

Ken Bohr, father of Margaret Bohr, said it was “very good” that the OUWB included his friends and family in the induction ceremony. He also expressed feelings of pride.

“(Margaret) always surprises us, especially when we’re invited to events like this,” he said. “It’s exciting that she’s almost finished medical school.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, Marketing Writer, OUWB, at [email protected]

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing Web page.

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