A Beaumont Health breast cancer surgeon named a “Michiganian of the Year” this week helped induct 20 students from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s Class of 2020 into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
‘Michiganian of the Year’ inducts 20 OUWB students into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society
AOA Induction 2019
Seventeen of the 20 students from OUWB's Class of 2020 who were inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (three could not attend).

A Beaumont Health breast cancer surgeon named a “Michiganian of the Year” this week helped induct 20 students from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s Class of 2020 into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Pamela Benitez, M.D., councilor and secretary of the Alpha Omega Alpha Delta Chapter, took part in the induction ceremony held Tuesday, Oct. 22.

The Detroit News announced the next day that Benitez was among its 2019 “Michiganians of the Year.”

Along with OUWB Stephan Sharf Interim Dean Duane Mezwa, Benitez welcomed more than 70 people to the ceremony held at Oakland University’s Meadow Brook Hall.

“The ceremony and dinner are a really nice way of saying we appreciate that the inductees have gone above and beyond just doing well academically,” Benitez said prior to the ceremony.

Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society is an international society recognizing students, alumni, and faculty who dedicate themselves to the medical profession. About 3,500 people are inducted into this society annually.

AOA has 132 chapters in medical schools throughout the U.S. and has elected more than 183,000 members since its founding.

More than 50 Nobel Prize winners in physiology, medicine and chemistry have been AOA members. More than 30 of those were elected to AOA prior to winning the Nobel Prize.

Eligible students must be from a school’s next graduating class. Only the top 25 percent in academic achievement are invited to apply. Of those applicants, the top 16 percent are selected for induction based on academic awards, leadership, awards received, research conducted and published, as well as community service. A selection committee makes the final determination.

OUWB M4 Chris Cooper was among the 20 inducted into AOA. He said it felt “really rewarding” and that the school set him up for success.

“From day one, OUWB not only prepares us academically but also by stressing the importance of (community) service,” Cooper said.

OUWB M4 Sara Margosian said she appreciated being recognized for her hard work through her induction and the ceremony.

“It just feels really amazing to have our accomplishments recognized like this,” she said. “It’s been a long journey and I know all of us have put in a lot of effort to get to this point. It feels great to have all of our accomplishments be recognized like this.”

M4 Amanda Amen — recently named 2019 Michigan College of Emergency Physicians Outstanding Medical Student of the Year — echoed the sentiments of her inducted classmates.

“Being inducted means so much to me, especially among my classmates who I’m just so proud of and admire so much,” she said. “(OUWB) has given me a lot in the last four years, and it means a lot that I get to continue to carry this (AOA) honor with me throughout my career.”

OUWB parents provide endless support
AOA Induction 2019 (2)Many parents and loved ones were present during the ceremony and dinner.

Lisa Adamson, whose son, M4 Joseph Adamson, was inducted, called her feelings of pride “overwhelming.”

“He has worked his whole life to achieve this,” she said. “Even when he was little, all he wanted was to be a doctor.”

Alan Amen, father of Amanda Amen, also beamed with pride after the event.

“We live through the success of our children, and I find that the most satisfying and rewarding part of my life,” he said. “I get tremendous enjoyment celebrating what my children are doing.”

During the ceremony, speakers urged the inductees to continue striving for the kind of excellence that earned them an AOA induction.


‘Know your why’
AOA Induction 2019 (3)Benitez, who also co-founded the Shades of Pink Foundation, urged the students to always “know your why.”

“Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of life,” she said. “Once you know your ‘why’ you will find the courage to take the steps to stay motivated when your body and mind are too tired to think…and then to challenge yourself to be the best that you can be every single day.”

The ceremony’s guest speaker was Anthony Stallion, M.D., chief of pediatric surgery, Beaumont Health, professor of surgery and pediatrics, OUWB — and a PRISM mentor for OUWB’s Class of 2022.
Stallion shared stories from his career, stressing the importance of hard work and compassion, as well as what it means to be inducted into AOA.

“Congratulations to all of you,” Stallion said. “For each of you, the honor of being inducted into AOA will forever be a highlight of your career. I applaud all of you for your hard work and efforts.”

Mezwa also paid tribute to the inductees.

“By being selected as AOA members, you have proven that you are compassionate leaders who have demonstrated dedication to serving others,” Mezwa said. “You also are recognized for your unselfish drive to advance the medical profession while using honorable conduct and ethical ideals.

“Congratulations,” he added. “I am certain that you will make OUWB proud.”

The complete list of inductees is as follows:

  • Joseph Adamson
  • Mohammed Al Tarhuni
  • Amanda Amen
  • Belinda Asare
  • Dalton Blood
  • Christopher Cooper
  • Jonathan Davis
  • Allyson DiMagno
  • Mavis Gappy
  • Catherine Gilligan
  • Kristine Huynh
  • Nathan Loudon
  • Sara Margosian
  • Brandon Moretti
  • Reginald Nguyen
  • Elizabeth Olive
  • Nicholas Parnell
  • Martin Randall
  • Lisa Spencer
  • Danielle Yee

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

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