MCOM students, residents, faculty and alumni join prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha honor society

A select group of 28 USF Health Morsani College of Medicine students and nine alumni, faculty and residents were recently inducted into the Gamma Florida Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA), the national medical honor society.

They were honored April 17 at the chapter’s annual induction banquet, hosted by chapter faculty councilor, Catherine M. Lynch, MD, at the University Club of Tampa.

The 28 newly inducted medical students included 14 each from the classes of 2017 and 2018.  In addition, the April 17 ceremony recognized 13 other Class of 2017 students who were elected to AOA last year when they were third-year medical students.

Membership in AOA is considered one of the highest academic honors a medical student can receive and is a distinction that accompanies a physician throughout his or her career.  One in every six students are eligible to be inducted.  The society’s motto is “Be worthy to serve the suffering.”

Twice a year, the AOA Gamma Chapter at USF MCOM elects new members, chosen from the top 25 percent of the class.  Of that 25 percent, up to 16 percent may be elected based on leadership, character, community service and professionalism, according to

“We are gathered here to celebrate the contributions each of you have made to strengthen our medical school and the future of health care,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine.

The AOA, founded in 1902, is the national medical honor society.  Members join the ranks of more than 50 Nobel Prize winners in physiology, medicine and chemistry.  Additionally, 11 of the past 19 U.S. surgeons are AOA members.

Residents: Asha Balakrishnan, MD;  Ju Hee Kim, MD
Faculty: Robert Barraco, MD, MPH;  Javier Cuevas, PhD; Akhil Maheshwari, MD, FAAP
Sarah Y. Yuan, MD, PhD
Alumni: Sylvia Deal Campbell, MD – class of 1977; Peter J. Embi, MD, MS – class of 1997
M. Rony Francois, MD, MSPH, PhD –class of 1994 MD, 1998 MSPH, 2003 PhD


MCOM Class of 2017 inductees (alphabetical): Himanshu Ajrawat, Matthew Beattie, Jacob Benedict, Camila Cabrera Carly Crowder, Alexander Guillaume, Tiana Guillaume, Peter Hanna, Paloma Irizarry, Emma Jones, Thuy-Quynh Le, Kathleen McFadden, Myassan Muftah, Philip Palmon, Richelle Reinhart, George Richard, Samuel Slone, Thejal Srikumar, Cady Welch, Matthew Witzel.  Not pictured: Kyle Achors, Nigel Arruda, Steven Baltic, Rebecca Brown, Luis Gonzalez, Andrew Mehlman, Augustine Wilson. All students have graduated from MCOM.


MCOM Class of 2018 inductees (alphabetical): Katherine “Katie” Allen, Mark Bender, Nicholar Castner, Zachary Christopher, Amanda Copenhaver, Curtis Gravenmier, Damien Knudson, Robert Levy, Tyag Patel, Abby Pribish, Mark Schattschneider, Tyler Stutzman, Kristin Tessiatore, Chelsea Wilson.