Alpha Omega Alpha Iota Chapter Recognizes Academic Excellence at 2022 Induction Ceremony
More than 60 medical students, alumni and faculty members were inducted into the national medical honor society.
On April 25, New York Medical College (NYMC) students, residents, faculty and alumni were recognized for their academic excellence with induction into the national medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA), during a special ceremony that took place in the Skyline Dining Room, while proud family members looked on. An annual tradition at the College since 1957, this year marked the 66th induction ceremony by the NYMC Iota Chapter of AOA. Lawrence Brandt, M.D., chief emeritus of gastroenterology at Montefiore Medical Center and professor of medicine and surgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, delivered this year’s visiting professor address.
During his talk, Dr. Brandt traced his long career that has spanned five decades, describing life experiences and medical cases he had handled as a physician to illustrate important lessons he has learned. “I began my career focused on disease, but over time, I evolved to recognize that while disease and pathophysiology were important, the patient and how that patient was affected by that disease was more important,” he said. “I am certain I am a much better physician now because of my desire to know the person with the disease and not just the disease.”
“A unique privilege of being a physician is being entrusted by our patients to care for them when they are most vulnerable. For those of you who will be procedure-based, remember that for us, endoscopies are just another day but for the patient, it may become the most important day of his or her life,” said Dr. Brandt. “This is equally true for all patients who enter a medical office where they bring with them an almost universal fear of hearing potentially life-altering news. We should be aware of this every single time we begin a procedure, every single time we enter a medical facility or our office.”
The importance of listening was a theme that resonated repeatedly throughout Dr. Brandt’s address. “Past memories are very much held in the present by older people. Their experiences are often poignant, sometimes unique and offer an enriching experience for the listener,” he said. “We are all threads in the tapestry of each other’s lives. Listen to others and allow their experiences to enrich your own.”
“Listen to the story your patients have to tell as they often know what’s wrong with them even if you don’t,” said Dr. Brandt. “This skill will enable you to give better care and be a better doctor, especially if you learn to hear what is being said between the spoken lines. Remember that together the patient and physician make a great team, far better than either one alone.”
This year’s inductees into Alpha Omega Alpha included NYMC alumni Ruth Alejandro, M.D. ’03, clinical assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine, Charles Episalla, M.D. ’88, M.S. ’87, Carey Goltzman, M.D. ’83, former associate professor of pediatrics, Jasnit Makkar, M.D. ’10 and Andrea Porrovecchio, M.D. ’02, clinical assistant professor of medicine. Several members of the NYMC faculty were also inducted, including Ryan Bendl, D.O., clinical assistant professor of surgery, Diana Haddad, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, and Lisa Hirsch, M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine and of family and community medicine.
The AOA Volunteer Clinical Faculty Award was presented to Sherri Sandel, D.O., adjunct assistant professor of medicine, and AOA Resident Teaching Awards were presented to James Choi, M.D., surgery resident, Miles Dale, M.D., surgery resident, Katherine Donavan, M.D., surgery resident, Dennis John, M.D., medicine resident, and Adriana Santiago, M.D., surgery resident.
A particularly poignant moment in the induction ceremony was the posthumous award to family medicine preceptor Richard Beira, M.D., who was remembered by Lori Solomon, M.D. ’99, M.P.H. ‘09, chair and clinical associate professor of family and community medicine and director of the Family Health Center, and Samuel DeSantis, School of Medicine Class of 2022.
“Dr. Beira fully embodies the tenants of the AOA—a gifted teacher, a compassionate healer and someone who truly is worthy to serve the suffering. He was a great man who touched the lives of so many,” said Mr. DeSantis. “He wrote a letter of recommendation for my residency application, and I will think of him on every step of my journey through medicine, not only for his mentorship and intelligence but for his remarkable kindness towards others.”
2021-2022 New York Iota Chapter Officers
Marissa Contento, President
Madeline Miceli, Vice President
Henry Dumke, Academic Coordinator
Nathan Gilbreth, Volunteer Coordinator
Class of 2022 Junior AOA Inductees
Class of 2022 Senior AOA Inductees
Carl Jn Pierre
Bracha Yaffa Sachs
Class of 2023 Junior AOA Inductees