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2024 Alpha Omega Alpha Inductees Personify the Art of Healing

Dr. Nicholas Flint, Creator of The AnKing, Was the Featured Speaker

February 29, 2024
AOA Induction Ceremony Speaker with Students
Thomas Gagliardi, William Frishman, M.D., Nicholas Flint, M.D., and Joseph Conti

Nicholas Flint, M.D., a dermatology resident at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania and creator of The AnKing, a comprehensive educational resource to help maximize the benefits of Anki, a memorization study tool used by medical students for exam preparation, was the keynote speaker at the event. 

“Dr. Flint has experienced a meteoric rise in medical education since 2018, when he used his self-taught computer programming skills to revolutionize the flashcard app Anki, under the title of The AnKing,” said Joseph Conti, SOM Class of 2024, and president of the NYMC Iota Chapter of AOA, in his introduction of  Dr. Flint. “The AnKing's mission of providing free and easy-to-access studying resources for students has had a profound effect on medical education, and I can confidently say Dr. Flint has had a positive impact on every student in this room and will for years to come.”

During his inspiring and at times humorous address, Dr. Flint traced his journey that led to the creation of The AnKing and the lessons he learned along the way. “A lot of times in medicine, you’re pushed into becoming a certain type of person, a certain type of student, a certain type of resident applicant, and that can be stressful,” said Dr. Flint. “Today, I want to share my story in the hope that I can help you to reject the pressure that we feel to conform to those norms and to find your passion and help you use that to change the world.”

Dr. Flint went on to describe the first time he tried Anki himself, and how though he recognized what a powerful tool it could be, found it very difficult to use. “The lesson I want you to get out of this is to try everything twice. The first time is rarely the best, particularly in medicine.” 

Though he had a strong interest in global health, in addition to dermatology, he was encouraged by advisors to instead focus on research. Rather than give up his interests, he combined them to focus on research in global health. “I went on to do multiple research projects in Ghana, working with Ghanaian medical students.  I had a great time and we ended up publishing from it. If what you're passionate about doesn't fit the mold, just make it fit. It was the same when I started to put a tremendous amount of time into Anki. The people I was going to be interviewing with for residencies didn't know what it was and probably wouldn't understand what I was doing, and I had to consciously decide to spend time on that instead of other things that I was being told to spend time on.” 

The creation of The AnKing began with his simple desire to help his classmates. “I found myself teaching the same few things over and over to my classmates, and it was taking away from my study time.” During some downtime one weekend, he created 10 to 20 YouTube videos to answer the questions about Anki that were consistently being asked. Over time, the project gradually grew as he solicited donors to support the project and coders to help develop add-ons for Anki to keep the flashcard decks updated with current medical information and include the ability for users to add their own notes. “It makes studying incredibly efficient, and students were able to spend a lot less time figuring out what to study and a lot more time studying.”

“Believe in yourself,” advised Dr. Flint. “Even though I had this idea of something that could happen, and people were telling me that it didn't make sense, or couldn't be done, it only took that one person to follow me and believe in me, to change everything. Remember, as you get further in your careers, you may be that one person that believes in somebody else and helps them to start a revolution as well.”

This year’s inductees into AOA included NYMC alumni Basha Behrman, M.D. ’20 and Aitan Magence, M.D. ’22. Several members of the NYMC administration and faculty were also inducted, including Neil Schluger, M.D., SOM dean; Mary Petzke, Ph.D., associate dean for medical student research; Christa Miliaresis Gross, M.D., clinical assistant professor of pediatrics; and Dominique Malacarne-Pape, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology.  

The AOA Volunteer Clinical Faculty Award was presented to Eliot Moshman, M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine; and AOA Resident Teaching Awards were presented to Shan Huang, M.D., surgery resident; Tarik Al-Bermani, M.D., pulmonary medicine resident; Steven Buffer, M.D., medicine resident; and Ilyse Blazar, D.O., surgery resident.

Dr. Schluger also offered words of admiration to the newest AOA inductees. “One of the interesting and challenging things about medicine is that the sickest patients, the ones whose lives are most at risk, usually don't choose their doctor and they put their lives in the hands of someone they’ve never met and who doesn't know them. As physicians, this creates an ethical imperative, a moral demand for excellence to deserve the trust that patients place in us. What we recognize tonight is the fact that you have achieved that ideal you have striven for and achieved the kind of excellence that I think the profession demands. You've set a wonderful example for your classmates, for the entire community, and for the patients that you will care for. I salute you for that.”

2023-2024 New York Iota Chapter Officers
Joseph Conti, President
Thomas Gagliardi, Vice President                  
Lauren Williams, Academic Coordinator
Carrie Hinchman, Volunteer Coordinator                   

Class of 2024 Senior AOA Inductees  
Sophia Arbuiso
Maytal Babajanian
Moses Bibi
Zhaoyu Chen
Megan Claypool
Christine Colasacco
Michael Fortunato
Aditya Gandhi
Caroline Granath
Jason Gross
Tegh Jauhal
Kira LeBron
Katherine Lo
Sohini Husain
Chloe Kalish
Katherine Kilkenny
Ezriel Kroen
Ethan Krug
Nicole Liddy
Haoqin Ma
Danielle Maraia
Saral Patel
Dena Phillips
Bracha Pollack
Mariel Pressler
Emily Sayegh
Faariah Shakil
Michelle Sikora
Sarah Solomon
Rebecca Starkman
Anastassia Sunday
Omar Tarawneh
Rachel Thommen
Hugh Thompson
Antonio Villalobos-Ortiz
Harli Weber
Madison Weiss
Theresa Yeo
Alice Zhang

Class of 2025 Junior AOA Inductees
Nicholas Barone
Guy Elgar
Benjamin Hernried
Lindsey Immers
Michelle Klausner
Nicholas Mui
Dinora Murota
Kaleb Noruzi
Ravnit Singh
Zachary Thomas