Nineteen from OUWB Class of 2023 inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society
An image of AOA inductees
The OUWB Class of 2023 AOA inductees who participated in the induction ceremony held at Meadow Brook Hall on Oct. 25, 2022.

Nineteen medical students from OUWB’s Class of 2023 were inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society on Oct. 25.

The event was held in person at Oakland University’s Meadow Brook Hall for the first time since 2019. Introductions were presented by Duane Mezwa, M.D., Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB, and Pamela Benitez, M.D., AOA Delta Chapter Councilor and Secretary.

The keynote was by Betty Chu, M.D., senior vice president, associate chief clinical officer/chief quality officer, Henry Ford Health System. Among other roles throughout her career, Chu also served as founding chair of the executive committee at OUWB.

The inductees join 130 OUWB alumni AOA members. Mezwa highlighted two: Ashley Guthrie, M.D., ’15, who recently opened a practice near Nashville; and Brandon Luczak, M.D., ’15, who recently joined a practice in Brighton.

“Stories like this will be told about each of you,” Mezwa told the new AOA inductees. “Being selected as AOA members, you have proven that you are compassionate leaders who have attained distinction and scholarship, and an unselfish dedication to serving others.”

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

A ‘very personal’ recognition

A graphic showing the list of AOA inductees

AOA 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 135 chapters in medical schools throughout the U.S. and has inucted more than 200,000 members since its founding in 1902.

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 annually holds its induction ceremony during autumn. For 2020 and 2021, the event was held virtually.

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

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

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

Prior to the ceremony, Chu said the overall hope for her presentation was that students would take away the importance of having a defined purpose in life.

“It’s not about a specific title, amount of money, or goal, but what they’re trying to accomplish in the bigger picture,” 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 William Beaumont School of Medicine, and be honored among this top group…it means a lot,” said Brent Yelton.

He added that “it makes you feel really proud of all the work done over the last four years, whether it’s through community engagement, doing well in classes, and just being well-rounded.”

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

“It’s an honor that I’m going to be able to carry with me,” she said. “Fellow physicians will be able to recognize this and know I’m a hard worker and can get stuff done. I feel honored to be part of this esteemed group.”

Skyler Porcaro also called it “a great honor.”

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

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

Yasmine Abushukur said she was excited to be inducted.

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

Andrew Shanholtzer also said 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 glad to be part of Alpha Omega Alpha.”

For parents in attendance, it was an occasion to share their pride.

“We are very proud of our daughter,” said Sundus Jabro, mother of Stephanie Gappy. “She’s always amazing us with her performance, both academically and everything else.”

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

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

“(Margaret) is always surprising us, especially when we get invited to events like this,” he said. “It’s exciting that she’s almost done with medical school.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at [email protected].

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

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