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. Submission criteria can be found on their website.
The top 25 percent of a medical school class is eligible for nomination into the society, and up to 16 percent may be elected based on academic record, as well as leadership, character, service to the School and the community, and demonstrated professionalism. Each class is considered 3 times. In the Spring of third year, the top students in the class are inducted based on GPA. In the Fall of fourth year, the majority of students are selected for a vote with the top 25 percent of the class being considered. A list of qualified students is generated based on GPA. The list is sorted by cumulative GPA – including third year and some fourth year grades. This honor is awarded to no more than one-sixth of the class. Finally, in the Spring of fourth year, the final group of members are inducted to the society.
As stated in the constitution, Scholastic achievement should be the primary but not sole basis for nomination of a student. Leadership capabilities, ethical standards, fairness in dealing with colleagues, demonstrated professionalism, potential for achievement in medicine, and a record of service to the school and community at large shall be criteria in addition to the academic record.
Each year, a chapter may also elect up to three residents/fellows to membership and one or two faculty members. These individuals are expected to be selected by a caucus of student members of the society at some time before the induction ceremony during the senior year. 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
For more information about AOA and a complete list of chapters, please visit their website www.alphaomegaalpha.org