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)


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

Akida Weir

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

Chapter Elections

CWRU students are elected into AOA by a committee of CWRU faculty who are themselves members of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Selection Committee members are given de-identified packets of information on the top honors students in the graduating class. Consideration is given to academic excellence, leadership, service to the community and to the school, faculty nominations, research publications and presentations, and other awards and accomplishments.

Once inducted, the new AOA students elect several faculty and residents into AOA. The students conduct the entire nomination/election process independently among themselves, giving consideration to qualities such as leadership, professionalism and service and, particularly, to commitment and excellence in medical student teaching and mentorship.

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!

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