Alpha Omega Alpha

Faculty Councilors

Alpha Omega Alpha Leadership Team

AOA Faculty Councilor (MetroHealth) (lead)

David Kaelber, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP, FACP, FACMI, FAMIA 

Professor of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, CWRU

Chief Medical Informatics Officer/VP of Health Informatics and Patient Engagement Technologies, The MetroHealth System

AOA Faculty Councilor (University Hospitals)

Debra Leizman, MD, FACP

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, CWRU

Director Medical Student Education 

Internal Medicine Clerkship Director 

Division General Internal Medicine, Depart of Medicine 

University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center

AOA Faculty Councilor (Cleveland Clinic)

Sofya Asfaw, MD, FACS 

Assistant Professor Surgery, CCLCM of CWRU

General Surgery and Anesthesia

Cleveland Clinic

AOA Faculty Councilor (Veterans Administration Hospital of Cleveland)

Nadim El Chakhtoura, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Medicine, CWRU School of Medicine 

Medical Director, Community Living Centers 

Sections of Acute Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine 

Department of Veterans Affairs Northeast Ohio Health System, Cleveland 


AOA Advisor

Monica Yepes-Rios, MD, FACP

Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of CWRU

AOA Advisor

Steven Ricanati, MD

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, CWRU

Associate Dean, Office of Student Affairs, CWRU SOM

Dean, Wearn Society, CWRU SOM

AOA Coordinator


Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) is the medical honor society with the overall vision to promote and recognize excellence in the profession of medicine in all of its forms. The CWRU chapter of AOA was the third (Gamma) chapter started nationally and the first (Alpha) chapter in Ohio.  The school's AOA chapter is managed by the CWRU SOM Office of Student Affairs.


Alpha Omega Alpha has a 5-part mission including:

  • Recognizing high educational achievement
  • Honoring gifted teaching
  • Encouraging the development of leaders in academia and the community
  • Supporting the ideals of humanism
  • Promoting service to others


Awards and Programs

The CWRU AOA chapter facilitates participation in AOA awards and programs.  Currently AOA has 13 different awards and programs for medical students, residents/fellows, and faculty.  Some example awards and programs include the MSSLP (Medical Student Leadership Project Award), the Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship, Helen H. Glaser Student Essay Award, and the Student Poetry Competition.

Additionally, each AOA chapter can select medical students, residents/fellows, faculty, and alumni for induction into AOA.  Announcements and information about AOA activities are sent out through the SOM's administrative listservs. Please direct any questions to the CWRU AOA Chapter email at:

CWRU AOA Chapter Registry

In accordance with the national Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AOA) Constitution, all CWRU faculty who are AOA members (even if elected elsewhere) automatically receive reciprocity of membership to our CWRU Alpha of Ohio Chapter. However, we may not know who you are! If you are AOA and have not been contacted directly by our chapter yet, please email us at with the subject line "Registry," and we will send you the link to our Chapter Registry. Thank you!

Medical Student Elections

A dedicated group of students (including SCME, CSR and DAC 2.0 representatives), faculty, staff, and administrators have been meeting regularly since the Fall of 2022 to discuss the paused AOA CWRU SOM University Program medical student selection. 

We have had many thoughtful discussions about the national and local history of AOA.  We have talked about structural inequities with AOA medical student selection.  We have been clear that we want to act with the best interests of our medical students as well as our CWRU values in mind.  With that said, the CWRU SOM AOA leadership team has decided to indefinitely suspend AOA CWRU SOM University Program medical student selection with no plans to discuss unsuspending AOA medical student selection (unless those conversations are initiated by students).  No current or soon-to-be (class of 2027) matriculated student class will have AOA student selection.  Any future discussion of unsuspending AOA medical student selection will be viewed through a strong equity lens with intentional conversations about the impact on diversity and inclusion. 

This decision has no bearing on CWRU SOM University and College Program medical student participation in AOA grants, awards and other activities, or on resident, fellow, faculty, or alumni AOA selections or related AOA activities.  The CWRU SOM will continue to have an active AOA chapter, but without medical student selection.

If you have any questions about any of this information, feel free to reach out to the Student Affairs Department at (

More Information

Additional information about AOA nationally can be found on the AOA website (  or this link to an overview pamphlet: 2022-flyer-for-web.pdf ( Inquiries or questions can be sent to the CWRU AOA email at