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    GSA Steering Committee

    The GSA Steering Committee is the executive committee for the Group on Student Affairs and is comprised of the executive leadership, the chairs of the GSA National Committees, the GSA regional chairs, as well as liaisons from the Council of Deans (COD), Organization of Student Representatives (OSR), and National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP). The areas represented by the GSA encompass a wide range of issues, policies, and operational characteristics that require study and deliberation on an ongoing basis. In order to provide a mechanism for the study of issues and problems associated with this full range of complex and diverse issues, the GSA Steering Committee established national committees in the areas of admissions, student affairs, student diversity affairs, student financial assistance, and student records.

    Message from the GSA National Chair

    Dear colleagues,

    It is my honor and privilege to serve as your 2023-2024 AAMC GSA National Chair. The GSA is an organization that has been instrumental in my own career development as a Student Affairs Dean. I have benefitted from the camaraderie, mentorship, teaching, support, and encouragement of so many individuals within the GSA constituency over the years, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead and serve such an amazing, supportive, and important community. I believe that at the heart of every Student Affairs professional is a passion for doing everything possible to create an environment that nurtures our learners as they progress on their path to becoming a physician. We provide rich opportunities for our students’ growth and development as individuals while promoting critical thinking and independence, all with the single-minded focus on graduating well-adjusted, healthy, competent physicians who care deeply about their patients and communities. To cultivate that culture for our students, we must create a safe, healthy, and collaborative environment in our workplaces, so that each one of us can bring our best to our work with students. I believe that the best way to accomplish this is to regularly challenge our own assumptions about our work, pursue innovative solutions, and continuously strive for excellence in all we do. I am committed to doing all that I can as a leader this year to support each of you in bringing your best to your students through transparent communication, collaborative problem-solving, proactive advocacy on issues of importance, and by providing a forum that allows all members to be heard and their input valued.

    The landscape of medical education is undergoing rapid and accelerated change. There are many areas of our work that currently feel quite chaotic, and Student Affairs professionals are called to be the beacon of light to help our students navigate this uncharted territory – whether in the new landscape of reviewing applications to medical school, dealing with increasing violence and polarization in the world, or successfully managing the transition to residency. As challenging as the past few years have been, this is not the time to rest. We are on the precipice of true transformation in medical education – we are seeing unprecedented changes that we could not have anticipated several years ago, and this is our opportunity to have a seat at the table to ensure that the student experience is paramount. We must continue to press on, as we have a unique opportunity to transform the future of Student Affairs – to shape the culture of the new learning environment, to pave the way for a more compassionate and holistic residency application process that better meets the needs of both students and programs, and to smooth the transition between UME and GME. This is my mission for the coming year – to stay the course and to continue to be a catalyst for positive change in medical education.

    We are fortunate to have fantastic leaders within the GSA. I am eager to continue working with all of our leaders and representatives within the spaces of admissions, student diversity affairs, student financial aid, student records, and student affairs to address the challenges that we face every day. I am grateful to our AAMC colleagues who support the work we do, and to our colleagues in other affinity groups such as the GEA, GDI, GRA, and OSR for all that they do to lead, serve, and make the medical education process better. Most importantly, I am thankful for all of you – it is your work within your institutions, day in and day out, that make a meaningful difference in the lives of our students and our nation’s future physicians and leaders. Please share your expertise, feedback, suggestions, and comments with us. Please also stay involved and engaged – it is your feedback, your guidance, and your suggestions that make the GSA what it is. I am looking forward to working with you all and serving you to the best of my ability this year.


    Steering Committee Members


    Marcy Verduin, MD (November 2023 – November 2024)
    Associate Dean for Students and Professor of Psychiatry
    University of Central Florida College of Medicine


    Joel Maurer, MD (November 2023– November 2024)
    Associate Dean for Admissions and Career Advising
    Clinical Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
    University of California – Riverside School of Medicine


    Tara K Cunningham, EdD, MS (November 2023 – November 2024)
    Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs
    Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

    Immediate Past Chair

    Hilit Mechaber, MD (November 2023 – November 2024)
    Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs
    Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
    University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

    Previous Past Chair

    Kathleen Kashima, PhD (November 2023 – November 2024)
    Senior Associate Dean for Students
    University of Illinois College of Medicine

    Committee on Admissions (COA) Chair

    Leila E Harrison, PhD, MEd, MA (November 2023- November 2026)
    Vice Dean for Admissions, Student Affairs, and Alumni Engagement
    Clinical Assistant Professor
    Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

    Committee on Student Affairs (COSA) Chair

    Cherie A. Singer, PhD (November 2023- November 2026)
    Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs
    University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

    Committee on Student Diversity Affairs (COSDA) Chair

    Donna H. Jackson, EdD (November 2022-November 2025)
    Assistant Dean for Admissions
    Director, Student Outreach Programs
    Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

    Committee on Student Financial Assistance (COSFA) Chair

    Cynthia Gonzalez (November 2021- November 2024)
    Senior Assistant Director FSM MD Financial Aid
    Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

    Committee on Student Records (COSR) Chair

    Carol McGhie, EdD, MSEd (November 2023 – November 2026)
    Director of Student Affairs
    University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine

    Central Region (CGSA) Chair

    Jay Behel, PhD (April 2023 - April 2024)
    Associate Dean, Medical Student Affairs
    Rush Medical College

    Northeastern Region (NEGSA) Chair

    Sonia Garcia Laumbach, MD (April 2023 - April 2024)
    Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
    Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

    Southern Region (SGSA) Chair

    Lauren Cobbs, MD, MEd, FACP (April 2023 - April 2024)
    Associate Dean for Student Affairs
    Texas Tech Health Sciences Center

    Western Region (WGSA) Chair

    Richard Amini, MD (April 2022 – April 2024)
    Associate Dean, Student Affairs
    Professor, Emergency Medicine
    University of Arizona College of Medicine- Tucson

    Council of Deans (COD) Liaison

    Michael J. Stamos, MD
    Dean, School of Medicine
    University of California Irvine

    National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP) Liaison

    Rhona Beaton (August 2022 - August 2026)
    President, NAAHP
    Assistant Director of Health Professions
    Union College

    Organization of Student Representatives (OSR) Liaison

    Youssef Aref (November 2022 – November 2024)
    MD Candidate
    California University of Science and Medicine School of Medicine

    AAMC Staff Liaison

    Irena Tartakovsky, MD, MS
    Director, Constituent Engagement
    Association of American Medical Colleges

    Related Resources

    Please send any questions, suggestions, or requests for meeting minutes and archived agendas to gsa@aamc.org.