The 2024 inductees to UB’s chapter of the national honor medical society Alpha Omega Alpha pose for a group photo following the ceremony.

UB’s AΩA Chapter Celebrates 100th Induction Ceremony

By Dirk Hoffman

Published March 22, 2024

The University at Buffalo’s chapter of the national honor medical society Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) celebrated a milestone anniversary March 14 with its 100th annual meeting and induction of candidates.

Thirty-nine medical students, two residents and one faculty member were inducted during the ceremony at the M&T Auditorium in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building.

‘One of Medicine’s Highest Honors’

“Alpha Omega Alpha is one of medicine’s highest honors. Membership in AΩA signifies a perpetual dedication to scholarship. ”
UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School, addressed the inductees.

“AΩA is one of medicine’s highest honors. Membership in AΩA signifies a perpetual dedication to scholarship. We want you to be lifelong learners,” she said. “It also represents leadership, professionalism and service to the community through that unwavering commitment to healing.”

Brashear noted the criteria for AΩA induction includes achievement, professionalism, humanism, equity and inclusion.

“Each inductee has demonstrated exceptional dedication to their studies, as well as the community,” she said.

Brashear said a really important keystone of the experience at the Jacobs School is promoting diversity in all forms.

“We want to recognize the impact that a diverse educational experience has on our students, how it enhances research endeavors and how it improves patient experience,” she said. “We are prioritizing recruitment and retention of a diverse student body, faculty and staff. We really want the medical school to reflect our community. We have a tireless commitment to the community — through our clinics and our outreach.”

Signatures Recorded in Hallowed Book

Ricki Chen signs AOA book.

Medical student inductee Ricki Chen signs the UB chapter of AΩA membership book.

Faye E. Justicia-Linde, MD ’05,  clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, is president and councilor of the local AΩA chapter, founded in 1924.

“I have worked with all of you students as clerkship director and in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and I am very glad to welcome you all into our AΩA chapter,” she said.

Justicia-Linde noted that in preparation for the event, she asked each of the students for three pieces of information: their hometown, the field of specialty they are entering, and their proudest accomplishment during their tenure as a medical student.

She then read off the names and the accompanying information while each student received their AΩA certificate from a committee member.

“We also ask that each inductee sign our chapter’s membership book, which goes back all 100 years,” Justicia-Linde said. “With all of the signatures that are in that book, it is really a very interesting historical document.”

The inductees are:

Medical Students

  • Matthew Ambalavanar
  • Itai Bezherano
  • Ian Bogdanowicz
  • Taylor Brophy
  • Lindsey Caines
  • Ricki Chen
  • Emilie Christie
  • Shiau-Sing Ciecierska
  • Megan Conrow-Graham
  • Elizabeth Crinzi
  • Lauren DiNardo
  • Alyssa Dzik
  • Susan Eichhorn
  • Sara Feinland
  • Brendan Fitzpatrick
  • Jesse Galina
  • Michelle Galindez
  • Nathan Gartland
  • Alexandra Gilligan
  • Emma Haley
  • Gabrielle Hartman
  • Bradley Jensen
  • Kristen Kosmerl
  • Isabelle Kozik
  • Alison Ma
  • Cody Manzanero
  • Andy Medina
  • Michael Meyer
  • Lindsay Nitsche
  • Teresa Pullano
  • Alyssa Reese
  • Nicco Ruggiero
  • Julian Saleh
  • Alyssa Sheedy
  • Xiane Smith
  • Gregory Vitone
  • Olivia Waldman
  • Timothy Whelan
  • Rachel Williams



  • Barry S. Willer, PhD, professor emeritus of psychiatry
Barry S. Willer, PhD.

Barry S. Willer, PhD

Willer was nominated by medical student inductees Itai Bezherano and Ian Bogdanowicz.

In their nomination letter, they noted that after Willer obtained his doctoral degree in psychiatry, he spent nearly all of the next 48 years dedicated to his work at UB.

“While his academic accomplishments are many, perhaps his greatest achievement is his contribution to the creation of the Buffalo Protocol for concussion management, which includes the novel Buffalo Concussion Treadmill Test,” they said.

“Maybe more impressive than his academic work, Dr. Willer has been a fantastic mentor to his students. With ease, he demonstrates trustworthiness, character, caring, empathy, and altruism.”

“We can think of no better way to honor a storied career spent dedicated to Buffalo, to teaching, and to scholarship than by inducting him into our chapter of AΩA,” they said. “Gratefully, and with the hope of returning some of the kindness that Dr. Willer has shown us during our time in Buffalo, we nominate Dr. Barry Willer for induction.”

Marshall Talks About Homegrown Leadership

Dori R. Marshall, MD.

Dori R. Marshall, MD ’97

Dori R. Marshall, MD ’97, chief medical officer of Oishei Children’s Hospital, and an associate professor of psychiatry at the Jacobs School, was the event’s distinguished lecturer.

She has served as director of inpatient psychiatry at the Erie County Medical Center since 2016 and has been a staff psychiatrist there since 2006. Marshall was previously an associate dean and director of medial admissions at the Jacobs School and has been an active member of its admissions committee since 2011.

Marshall, a triple alumna of UB — earning an undergraduate degree, medical degree and performing a residency in psychiatry — gave an address titled “Leadership — Homegrown.”

“I am honored to have been asked to speak with you this evening about leadership and about my journey, which you have all witnessed to some extent. It is a particular pleasure because as I look at all of you, I, like your parents think back to an earlier day.”

“Your family and friends are thinking of how proud they are of you because of all that you accomplished. In similar measure, I look back and remember reading your applications and talking over with the admissions committee and being amazed at the leadership journeys you were already on.”

Marshall said that one can see leadership most poignantly and clearly in the one-on-one — the relationship between a doctor and their patient. She also noted a true leader never stops self-reflecting.

“You are all on your leadership paths and have been on them since way before medical school,” she said. “You have begun to hone the building blocks of your future leadership already.”

“Remember the one-on-one. The leadership style you develop with your patients will telescope out as your leadership style with students, residents, with nurses, with committees, with roles in administration, with roles in higher education —  maybe even in politics.”

“I hope you feel your time with us at UB has provided the nurturing environment needed for you to launch,” Marshall concluded. “We are so proud of you and your accomplishments and will watch, as parents do, as you continue your growth. Good luck.”

Chapter Committees Assist With Ceremony

In addition to Justicia-Linde, others on the chapter’s executive committee are:

The following Jacobs School faculty members are on the chapter’s advisory committee: