National Medical Society Honors Director, Students at UNC School of Medicine in Asheville

April 30, 2018

Alpha Omega Alpha membership recognizes outstanding medical leadership and community service

April 30, 2018—Robyn Latessa, MD, director and assistant dean at the UNC School of Medicine (SOM) Asheville Campus, and four of the program’s students were inducted for membership this month in Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA), a national medical honor society that recognizes excellence in scholarship, research, service to others, and professional and community leadership.

 “Dr. Latessa has been an invaluable partner in our efforts to train the best medical students and future healthcare leaders in Western North Carolina,” shares Jeff Heck, MD, dean of the Asheville Campus and chief executive officer of the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) where the campus is located.

“She embraces Alpha Omega Alpha’s core values and cultivates them in all of her students,” he adds. “I can’t think of a more fitting recognition.”

Fourth-year UNC SOM Asheville Campus medical students Hayley Cunningham, Lacey English, Marni Krehnbrink, and Neha Verma were also selected for AOA membership, a lifelong honor that recognizes physicians’ dedication to the profession and art of healing.

“All four of these students embody the humanistic qualities of integrity, respect, & compassion,” Dr. Latessa shares. “I am proud that they chose to do their clinical training year at our campus and share their gifts with patients here in Western North Carolina.”

These students recently completed their clinical training under the direction of Dr. Latessa and represent nearly half of all students selected for induction this spring across UNC’s four campuses located in Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Wilmington and Asheville.

The AOA was founded in 1902 and has expanded to 120 chapters including the one at UNC, which was established in 1954. The society is dedicated to improving care in the profession of medicine, which it accomplishes through a variety of annual awards, grants and fellowships for medical students and physicians.

For more information about the AOA Gamma Chapter at UNC, please visit For more information about UNC SOM Asheville Campus, please visit


The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) was established in 1974 and is a leader in healthcare, education and innovation. Located in Asheville, MAHEC serves a 16-county region in Western North Carolina. It is the largest Area Health Education Center in North Carolina, which evolved to address national and state concerns with the supply, retention and quality of health professionals. MAHEC’s mission is to train the next generation of healthcare professionals for Western North Carolina through quality healthcare, innovative education, and best practice models that can be replicated nationally. For more information on MAHEC, visit