AΩA Medical Honor Society Announces Newest Members at a Social Distance

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Congratulations graduates class of 2020 | books leaning on each other next to an apple and a globe, all illustrated in chalkboard style

For the first time in its 65-year history, George Washington University’s (GW) Alpha Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society (AΩA) announced that this year’s AΩA graduation-week events, the annual AΩA grand rounds lecture and the awards banquet, were “unavoidably canceled,” due to the COVID-19 disruptions to the academic calendar.

“Our hearts go out to all those who have suffered in the face of the pandemic, and we honor the dedication of all those caring for patients during this difficult time,” Angelike Liappis, MD ’96, associate professor of medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and secretary of the GW chapter of AΩA, wrote in a letter notifying this year’s residents and students of their induction into AΩA. Students also received their certificates through the mail, as well as the decorative honor cord to be worn with academic regalia, signifying AΩA membership.

Induction into AΩA is based on academic standing, as well as leadership qualities, professionalism and firm sense of ethics, promise of future success in medicine, and commitment to service in the school and community. Only the top 25% of graduating medical students are even eligible for nomination to the society. Inductees are selected by their peers and faculty members based on their demonstration of leadership, character, community service, and professionalism.

“Election to Alpha Omega Alpha is a distinction that accompanies a physician throughout his or her career,” said Alan Wasserman, MD, Eugene Meyer Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at SMHS. Wasserman, now in his 19th year as councilor of the GW Alpha Chapter of AΩA, added that “it is the highest honor in the medical profession, and will always be recognized as a member of AΩA.”

He added that, despite the lack of an awards banquet, this year’s student inductees will go on to represent GW and the Alpha Chapter of AΩA at residency programs from some of the leading medical institutions across the country.

“Around Match Day was when things got crazy,” explained Liappis. “Our spring elections for faculty and alumni awards are usually held that same week, but they had to be rescheduled. We decided to curtail our elections until fall in order to prioritize our student’s service project as well as the resident elections, because many of them will be leaving campus and the faculty were understandably focused on patient care in the early days of the pandemic.

Despite the COVID-19 disruptions, the students still managed to complete the chapter service project, the 9th edition of the “AΩA Guide to the 4th Year and the Residency Process.” Since 2008, the chapter has produced and updated the guide for students who are preparing for their residency searches as a service project. The book features 327 pages of practical advice and stress-relieving tips for students entering the residency search process, including information about each specialty, couples matching, military matching, types of question asked during interviews, experiences at various institutions, as well as an appendix of the many locations GW alumni have matched in recent years.

“To our amazing Class of 2020 seniors and our resident inductees: We congratulate you all on your achievements, we are proud of you and of all your accomplishments,” Liappis told the new class of members via email.

Liappis added that because the awards ceremony is so personal, the society hopes to reboot the awards for those who missed out this year. “Anyone who will be here next year, who can be here, who might be here, they are all welcome to come,” she said.

Class of 2020 AOA Inductees:

Leora Aizman, SMHS Class of 2021

Janine Amirault, Children’s Hospital-Boston, Pediatrics

Justin Arnold, Riverside Community Hospital, Transitional, University of California, Irvine Medical Center, Dermatology

Meghan Beatson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Transitional, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dermatology

Kathleen Curley, University Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix, OB-GYN

Megan Fuerst, SMHS Class of 2021

Hannah Goulart, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Internal Medicine

Alexander Hallwachs, Case Western Reserve University Hospital, Cleveland Medical Center, Orthopaedic Surgery

Chloe Harrington, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Otolaryngology

Steven Langerman, Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Internal Medicine

Danny Lee, University of Miami, Jackson Health System, Orthopaedic Surgery

Alexandra Lieberman, NewYork Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center, Pediatrics

Elizabeth Malphrus, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Plastic Surgery (Integrated)

Dustin Marks, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Medicine-Preliminary, Stanford University Progs, Dermatology

Momina Mazhar, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Medicine-Preliminary, University Texas Southwestern Medical School-Dallas, Dermatology

James McIntyre, Tufts Medical Center, Orthopaedic Surgery

Steven McKenzie, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Anesthesiology

Zacharia Nayer, Riverside Regional Medical Center-VA, Transitional, Columbia University/Harkness, Ophthalmology

Katherine Negreira, University of Miami, Jackson Health System, Internal Medicine

Vanessa Niba, University Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor, General Surgery

Danielle Putur, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery

Max Ruben, West Suburban Medical Center, Family Medicine

Muhammed Shand, University Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine, Otolaryngology

Sameer Singhal, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Interventional Radiology (Integrated)

Savannah Smith, Emory University School of Medicine, General Surgery

Tyler Spivey, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Pediatric Neurology

Michael Stellon, University Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Surgery-Preliminary

David Strum, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, Otolaryngology

Austin Wu, UCLA Medical Center, Anesthesiology

Betel Yibrehu, University of Toronto, General Surgery

Zachary Zeller, Boston University Medical Center, Orthopaedic Surgery

Gabriel Zuckerberg, Children’s Hospital-Philadelphia, Pediatrics


2020 Resident inductees:

Matthew Cichocki, MD, PGY-3, Internal Medicine

Misty Eleryan, MD, PGY-4, Dermatology

Safa Cyrus-Fassihi, MD, PGY-4, Orthopedic Surgery

Ghazal Kango, MD, PGY-3, Internal Medicine

Jake Lambdin, MD, PGY-2, General Surgery

Collin Mulcahy, MD, PGY-4, Otolaryngology

Hieu Trung “Nick” Nguyen MD, PGY-3, Anesthesiology

Gene Peir, MD, PGY-6, Pediatric-Critical Care Fellow, Children’s National Hospital

Natalie Sullivan, MD, PGY-3, Emergency Medicine

James “Drew” Zebley, MD, PGY-2, General Surgery

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