Alpha Omega Alpha
“Be Worthy to Serve the Suffering”
Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society is a professional medical organization that recognizes and advocates for excellence in scholarship and the highest ideals in the profession of medicine. It values honesty, honorable conduct, morality, virtue, unselfishness, ethical ideals, dedication to serving others, and leadership. Members are driven to do well and to advance the medical profession while exemplifying the highest standards of professionalism. It is the leading advocate for scholarly attainment and moral purpose in medicine.
The society was founded in 1902 by William Webster Root and a small group of medical students at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago. It began due to students’ lack of interest in scholarly attainment and the absence of high professional values at that time. Membership was based on high scholarly achievement and appropriate professional demeanor.
In 1938, AOA began publishing a journal called The Pharos. It highlights the most important values of the medical profession and adds value to the life and work of its members and the noble ideals of the medical profession. Find submission criteria on their website.
The top 25 percent of a medical school class is eligible for nomination into the society, and up to 16 percent of the class may be selected based on the academic record as well as leadership, character, service to the School and the community, and demonstrated professionalism. Each class is considered three times: during Spring of the third year, Fall of the fourth year, and finally, Spring of the fourth year. Eligible candidates are determined according to academic performance weighted 20% M1, 20% M2, and 60% M3/M4. Typically up to 5 students are selected for AOA during the Spring of third year based primarily on academic performance. The majority of medical student members are inducted during the Fall of their fourth year before ERAS applications are released to programs, and are determined by a selection process conducted by current chapter members in conjunction with the Dean’s Office.
As stated in the constitution, the Scholastic achievement should be the primary but not sole basis for the nomination of a student. Leadership capabilities, ethical standards, fairness in dealing with colleagues, demonstrated professionalism, a potential for achievement in medicine, and a record of service to the school and community at large shall be criteria by which selections are made from the top 25% of the class as defined above.
Each year, a chapter may also elect up to three residents/fellows to membership and one or two faculty members. With input from faculty members and the office of the dean, one or two alumni/alumnae may be elected each year as well.
Honors and Awards
Each year, AOA makes available to medical students and faculty more than half a million dollars in awards, research funding, fellowships, visiting professorships, and prizes that recognize the many components of an outstanding commitment and dedication to caring for others and providing high-quality health care.
- The Edward D. Harris Professional Award
- The Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowships
- Visiting Professorships
- The Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Awards
- Medical Student Service Project Awards
- The Helen H. Glaser Student Essay Awards
- The Pharos Poetry Competition
- Volunteer Clinical Faculty Awards
Visit the AOA website for more information about AOA and a complete list of chapters.