Allison Brashear, MD, stands with inductees to the University at Buffalo’s chapter of the national honor medical society Alpha Omega Alpha.

UB Chapter Inducts 41 Into AOA Honor Medical Society

Published March 25, 2022

story by dirk hoffman

Thirty-eight medical students and three residents are inductees to the University at Buffalo’s chapter of the national honor medical society Alpha Omega Alpha.


The inductions took place during a ceremony March 17 in the M&T Auditorium on the second floor of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building.

Inductees Have Demonstrated Excellence

Nicholas J. Silvestri, MD, clinical associate professor of neurology and president of the local AOA chapter, acted as master of ceremonies for the event.

He noted that induction into AOA is “the highest honor than can be bestowed in our profession.”

“Election to AOA is an honor signifying the lasting commitment to professionalism, leadership, scholarship, research and community service,” he said.

When introducing each of the inductees from the Class of 2022, Silvestri announced where they’re from, the specialty they are going into, and what they are most proud of from their time as a medical student or resident.

The inductees are:

Medical students

  • Laura Artim 
  • Thomas Barbaccia 
  • Vincent H. Bargnes III 
  • Austin Julius Bartl 
  • Joseph Joshua Bengart 
  • Katelyn Benson 
  • Jenna Betz 
  • Nicole Curtis 
  • Meghan DioGuardi 
  • Emily Clare Ellmann 
  • Brandon Ewing 
  • Nicolas Fesser 
  • Maria Alexandra Geba 
  • Alexandra Gosh 
  • Abigail Grapes 
  • Timothy Francis Hellerer 
  • Dhara N. Kadakia 
  • Rachel Knapp 
  • David Joseph Krasinski
  • Thomas R. Listopadzki 
  • Rebecca Joy Luterman 
  • Ellen Lutnick 
  • Joseph Patrick McGann 
  • Yasmeen Olivia Mohammad 
  • Shannon Ryan Oram 
  • John A. Petrie IV 
  • Elena Christine Pezzino 
  • Ellen Piccillo 
  • Kiana Lynn Saade 
  • Lauren Anna Sielski 
  • Jessica L. Silvestri 
  • Andrew Christopher Skomra 
  • Sarah Soniwala 
  • Nicholas Swain 
  • Eric James Szczecinski 
  • Mary Margaret Twarog 
  • Kevin Zablonski 
  • Kate R. Zha


Allison Brashear.

Allison Brashear, MD, makes a point during her presentation titled “The Future of Medicine.”

Dean Speaks About Future of Medicine

Keynote speaker for the ceremony was Allison Brashear, MD, UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School, whose address was titled “The Future of Medicine.”

Brashear noted that while many elements have changed dramatically in medicine, the focus remains on the patient.

“Always, put the patient at the center,” she said. “I think that is one of the important things to take away from all the things you have learned and when you embark on this next chapter of your life — we are all about patient-centered care.”

Brashear remarked on how many of the AOA inductees’ comments at the ceremony about important accomplishments were about teaching medical students and developing new models of care.

“Everyone here has something they are proud of — a lot of it was about giving to someone else,” she said.

Brashear said being inclusive is about bringing people into the fold. 

“Team-based care is going to be one of the pivotal things about the future of medicine,” she said. “As we learn more and more how health care is changing, how it is really focused on patient outcomes, how we want to do our best to keep patients out of the hospital and not having them get their care in an emergency room — that is all team-based.”

Brashear reminded the AOA inductees of the cutting-edge education they received at the Jacobs School.

“Our school is also focused on diversity and has implemented an anti-racism curriculum,” she said. “A lot of schools talk about this, not many make it happen.”

“One of the things we can do to really be a part of our community is to train a diverse group of providers,” Brashear said. “Research shows patients are more likely to see a doctor and follow what a doctor says when they have a shared background.”

Lastly, Brashear encouraged the inductees to stay connected with UB through social media and by joining its alumni network.

“We want you to share your accomplishments and your good stories with us, whether you are continuing your training here or all the way across the country.”


Rachel Knapp.

Medical student Rachel Knapp signs the UB chapter’s official registry book after being inducted into AOA. The book dates back to 1925.

Advisory Committee Helps With Ceremony

In addition to Silvestri, others on the chapter’s advisory committee are: