19 members of OUWB Class of 2023 join Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

Nineteen medical students in OUWB’s class of 2023 were inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Society on October 25.

For the first time since 2019, the event was held in person at the University of Auckland’s Meadow Brook Hall. Duane Mezwa, M.D., OUWB’s Stefan Schaaf Dean, M.D., and Pamela Benitez, M.D., Councilor and Secretary of AOA Delta Chapter, provided introductions.

The keynote was delivered by Betty Chu, MD, Senior Vice President, Associate Chief Clinical Officer/Chief Quality Officer, Henry Ford Health System. Chu served as founding chairman of OUWB’s Executive Committee, among other positions throughout her career.

Inductees join 130 OUWB Alumni AOA members. Mezwa emphasized her two. Ashley Guthrie, MD, ’15. He recently opened a practice near Nashville. He is Brandon Luczak, MD, ’15, who recently joined the Brighton Clinic.

“Such stories will be told about each of you,” Mezwa told new AOA members. He has proven himself to be a compassionate leader who has achieved an altruistic dedication to serve.”

“You are recognized for your undeniable drive to advance the medical profession with good conduct and ethical ideals,” he continued. I look forward to the day I do.”

A ‘very personal’ perception

AOA is an international community that recognizes students, alumni and faculty who are committed to the medical profession. About 3,500 people join the association each year.

AOA has 135 chapters in medical schools nationwide and has enrolled more than 200,000 members since its founding in 1902.

More than 50 Nobel laureates in physiology, medicine and chemistry are members of the AOA. He was elected to the AOA before more than 30 of them were awarded the Nobel Prize.

Eligible students must be from the following graduating classes at the school: Only top 25% of academic achievements are eligible to apply. Of these applicants, the top 16% are selected for admission based on academic merit, leadership, awards won, research conducted and published, and community service. A selection committee will make the final decision.

OUWB holds an induction ceremony each fall. 2020 and 2021 were held virtually.

Image of a student pinned on AOA
At the ceremony, Benitez presents Elizabeth Seeley with an AOA pin.

Benitez said, “It’s very personal to be able to recognize and honor the work they’ve done and achieved.” is a way of saying ‘I know’.”

Addressing the inaugural, Chu focused on how to further their respective careers. Specifically, she advised defining each purpose, the power to “say no like you can say yes”, and the importance of being an effective communicator.

Ahead of the ceremony, Chu said her overall hope for her presentation was to de-emphasize the importance of students having a clear purpose in life.

“It’s not about a specific title, amount of money, or goal, it’s about what we’re trying to achieve in the big picture,” she said.

“I am very honored.”

Students generally expressed feelings of honor and excitement.

Brent Yelton said: “It means a lot to be surrounded by so many amazing students at the University of Auckland William Beaumont School of Medicine and to be honored among this top group.

He said, “It makes me really proud of all the work that’s been done over the last four years, whether it’s community involvement, class performance, or balance.

Hayley Walton said being inducted into the Hall of Fame was “really exciting”.

“I am honored to be able to carry it with me,” she said. I am honored to be part of this respected group.”

Skyler Porcaro also called it a “huge 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’s great to be recognized for “all the little things that we’ve been able to do through medical school[that lead to the big picture].”

Yasmine Abushkul said she was thrilled to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“It means a lot,” she said. “We feel like we’ve been working hard for the past four years, and it’s finally starting to pay off.”

Andrew Schanholzer also said the introduction of AOA “means a lot”.

“This is a great culmination of all the hard work we put into the medical school,” he said. I am really happy that I did.”

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

Stephanie Guppy’s mother Sundas Jabro said: “She continues to amaze us with her performances, academically and in everything else.”

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

Margaret Bohr’s father, Ken Bohr, said it was “very good” that OUWB included friends and family in the ceremony.

“(Margaret) always surprises us, especially when invited to an event like this,” he said. “I’m thrilled that she’s almost graduated from medical school,” she said.

For more information, please contact OUWB Marketing Writer Andrew Dietderich at

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

Note: All articles are published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License unless otherwise stated. You are free to copy, distribute, adapt, transmit, and use this work for commercial purposes, as long as you include a link to this article and attribution to the William Beaumont School of Medicine, University of Auckland.

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