Article I: NAME AND MISSION STATEMENT
This organization shall be called Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, the three Greek letters AΩA being the initials of the essential words in the following motto:
“Be worthy to serve the suffering”
The Mission Statement of Alpha Omega Alpha is constructed and modified when appropriate by the Board of Directors.
The mission statement adopted in 2008 is:
Alpha Omega Alpha — dedicated to the belief that in the profession of medicine we will improve care for all by:
- 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.
Article II: MEMBERSHIP AND AIMS
Individuals eligible to be nominated include:
A.) Medical students who have demonstrated scholastic achievement, demonstrated professionalism, and have shown promise of becoming leaders in the profession.
B.) Physicians (residents or fellows, faculty, and alumni/alumnae) who later in careers have demonstrated such leadership.
C.) Physicians or others who have attained national or international distinction in any line of endeavor related to medicine but are not eligible for election by other means. These individuals are elected by unanimous vote of the Board of Directors as honorary members.
The Society is organized for educational purposes exclusively and not for profit, and its aims shall be the promotion of scholarship and research in medical schools, the encouragement of a high standard of character and professionalism among medical students and physicians, and the recognition of high attainment and service in medical science, patient care, and related fields.
Article III: INSIGNIA
Section 1: Badge of the Society
The official badge of this Society shall be in the form of a key or key-pin, and shall be designed after the manubrium sterni. The face shall have engraved thereon the three Greek letters AΩA and 1902, the date of organization of the Society.
Section 2: Certificate of Membership
The certificate of membership in this Society shall be of such design and wording as the Board of Directors approves. It shall bear the seal of the Society and the signatures of the President and Executive Director.
Section 3: Seal of the Society
The seal of the Society shall contain the official badge, the name, and other content deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors.
Article IV: MEMBERSHIP AND GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
Section 1: General
The function and influence of the Society depend upon the wisdom with which members are elected. Candidates are selected as nominees for membership of a Chapter as medical students, residents, fellows, faculty, or alumni/alumnae. Individual schools/Chapters shall establish procedures to apply the national criteria for nomination of new members. All members of the Chapter are eligible to vote for nominees at a meeting of members convened for that purpose or by mail. Selection as a nominee shall require a majority vote of those in attendance. Once nominated, election to membership in AΩA will occur when the nominee registers online with the national office and the first year dues have been paid. This does not apply to those elected by the Board as honorary members.
No candidate shall be denied election because of age; race; color; ethnicity; religion; national origin; sex; pregnancy status; gender identity or expression; sexual orientation; physical or mental disability; marital, civil union or domestic partnership status; veteran status; socioeconomic status; or any other characteristic protected by the laws of a state, province, territory, or nation.
AΩA expects an unbiased, inclusive nomination and election process as defined below.
Self-nomination will not be considered for any category of membership.
Section 2: Medical Student Memberships
A.) General guidelines for eligibility and election: Each school will identify students who, based on merit, demonstrate the characteristics of becoming excellent physicians and are aligned with AOA’s mission and values and the school’s determination; these students shall be considered as eligible for nomination for election (see section 2c).
The characteristics of excellent physicianship will be identified by each school; examples include trustworthiness, character, caring, knowledge, scholarship, proficiency in the doctor-patient relationship, leadership, compassion, empathy, altruism, and servant leadership.
From this group, up to twenty (20) percent of the total number of the class expected to graduate may be elected to membership. The Dean or his/her designee will work with the Chapter Councilor to establish a process to identify students expected to graduate and who match the school’s criteria for eligibility. This includes input from appropriate administrative staff who can verify that nominees have no academic or professionalism concerns.
AΩA expects an unbiased, inclusive nomination and election process as defined below.
B.) Timing of election: Each school/Chapter may determine the best timing for their elections. Chapters may choose to nominate all or a portion of their quota of student members at any time during the final year prior to graduation. Up to fifty (50) percent of the total number of students to be elected may be elected in the penultimate year. Chapters are encouraged to save one or two positions in each class of students for seniors to be nominated closer to graduation, in recognition of notable achievements during the final year of undergraduate medical education.
C.) Criteria for eligibility: Each school/Chapter will identify evidence-based methods for determining eligible students based on AOA’s mission and values and the school’s mission and definitions of excellence in physicianship. In addition to academic achievement, schools/Chapters should use measures of research and scholarship, leadership, ethical behavior, professionalism, service to the school and community at-large, and/or other elements determined by the school/Chapter. Each school/Chapter should identify and then weigh these elements in the election process based on their mission and goals.
Each school must maintain the attributes of AΩA – academic achievement, research, education, leadership, humanism, professionalism, service – throughout the election process.
Each school/Chapter must be transparent with this process and shall implement a mechanism for the selected elements and weighting to be made known to all students, e.g., handouts, orientation, website, etc.
Once nominated by a Chapter, students, residents, faculty, and alumni shall not campaign in any way for election to AΩA.
D.) Method of nomination: Members of each Chapter, including students, residents, fellows, and faculty, shall establish procedures to apply the national criteria for nomination of new members for election. Each eligible candidate shall be considered separately. If academic records and/or personnel files of eligible candidates are reviewed in connection with the selection process, the Chapter must contact the Dean’s office to determine if the specific written consent of students is required prior to this review. If so, that must be obtained from eligible students before the election process. Only the Chapter Councilor or the Councilor-designated member(s) should have access to grades or class standing of students. Conflicts arising about choices of students for nomination for election must be resolved within the institution by processes set by the Chapter Councilor and Dean.
E.) Students who have taken part of their medical school education elsewhere will be eligible for nomination for election to the Society after being in attendance for one academic year in the medical school of the nominating Chapter.
F.) Nominated candidates will be declared elected and inducted into the Society only after registration with the national AΩA office is completed and the first year dues have been paid.
Section 3: Resident and Fellow Memberships
Residents and fellows who were elected as medical students to the Society are automatically members of the Chapter of the medical school sponsoring the educational programs in which they are enrolled. In addition, each Chapter may nominate for membership in the Society each year residents or fellows who have completed a first year of residency or fellowship. Their election shall be based on continued academic achievement, leadership, professionalism, service, teaching, research and promise referred to in Article II and Article IV, with special emphasis on commitment and excellence in teaching of medical students. The numbers eligible to be nominated and elected will be related to the size of the medical school class and the number of students eligible to be nominated to membership in AΩA in the school. The minimum will be three residents or fellows. The numbers related to size and the increment will be determined by the Executive Director periodically.
Section 4: Alumni/Alumnae and Faculty Memberships
The provision for nomination by each Chapter of alumni/alumnae members and faculty members each year provides a means of recognizing and honoring individuals who have distinguished themselves in their professional careers. Such election shall be based on continued achievement, leadership, professionalism, service, teaching, research and promise referred to in Article II and Article IV. Inasmuch as the number of individuals eligible for selection in these two categories is limited, Chapters should evaluate carefully the professional and personal stature of nominees.
A.) Alumni/Alumnae: Graduates of medical schools in which a Chapter exists, who were not elected as students, residents, or fellows, but who, after ten years or more following graduation are judged on the basis of academic and professional achievement, leadership, professionalism, service, teaching, research and promise referred to in Article II and Article IV to be qualified, may be nominated for membership in the Chapter of the medical school from which they graduated.
B.) Faculty: Members of the sponsoring school’s Faculty of Medicine who hold an earned doctoral degree (M.D., Ph.D., or equivalent) and have demonstrated continued academic and professional achievement, leadership, professionalism, service, teaching, research and promise referred to in Article II and Article IV, and a commitment to scholarly excellence and medical education may be nominated for membership in the Chapter of that school.
The numbers eligible to be nominated and elected in each category will be related to the size of the medical school class and the number of students eligible to be nominated to membership in AΩA in the school. The minimum in each category will be two faculty and two alumni. The numbers related to size and the increment in these categories will be determined by the Executive Director periodically.
Section 5: Honorary Membership
The Board of Directors may elect physicians or others distinguished in careers related to medicine to honorary membership. Eligible are those who have attained national or international recognition in teaching, research, or in leadership roles that are relevant to medicine, and who are not eligible for election through other means. Election shall be by unanimous vote.
Section 6: Membership Transfer and Reciprocity of Membership
Members of the Society may join the activities of the Chapter nearest to the location of their continued professional activity by contacting the Councilor of that Chapter.
Members not residing near a Chapter may become affiliated with an Association or help in the founding of an Association (Section 7).
Section 7: Associations of Alpha Omega Alpha
Groups of ten or more society members may, with the approval of the Board of Directors, form an Association of Alpha Omega Alpha in medical schools, cities, or districts where a chartered Chapter does not exist. The function of these Associations will be to foster intellectual and social exchange among AΩA members forming the Associations. The Association may not nominate for election student members, but may nominate resident, fellow, faculty, and alumni members in accordance with Article IV, sections 3 and 4. Associations are formed and disbanded at the pleasure of the President of AΩA. Members desiring to form an Association may request a membership listing in a given area. The national office of AΩA should then be petitioned by providing a list of ten or more dues-paying members with e-mail and business addresses, and a brief statement of plans for activities. They should elect officers who will submit a yearly summary of activities and members to the Executive Director of AΩA.
Section 8: Membership Revocation
The Board of Directors may, at its discretion and by unanimous vote, revoke the membership of any member for proven behavior that is in conflict with the national criteria for election, or that is inconsistent with the mission, goals, and purposes of AΩA as outlined in Articles I and II, Section 2.
Article V: ORGANIZATION AND CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION
Section 1: General
The general management of the Society shall be vested in the Board of Directors and the officers elected by it. The Board of Directors shall conduct the business of the national organization of Alpha Omega Alpha. Nominations for vacancies on the board shall be made by a Nominating Committee chaired by the President-Elect and comprised of the three Councilor Directors and up to three additional members of the Board, chosen by the President.
Section 2: Officers
The officers shall be the Immediate Past President, President, President-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer, each elected by majority vote of the Board. The latter two offices may be combined, if approved by the Board. Nominations for officers shall be made by a Succession Committee chaired by the Immediate Past President and comprised of the additional officers and the Executive Director.
Section 3: Executive Director and National Office
The national office shall be directed by an Executive Director, chosen by the Board, who shall be the chief executive officer of AΩA and shall be responsible for implementation of all activities of the society, for maintenance of all society records, and for reports to the Board each year on the state of the society. The Executive Director shall serve ex officio, without vote, on the Board of Directors.
Section 4: Immediate Past President
The Immediate Past President shall serve for a term of one year.
Section 5: President
The President shall be the senior elected officer of the AΩA Board of Directors, shall preside at all meetings of the Board and shall have general supervision and direction of the activities of the Board. The President shall perform such other duties as are specified in these bylaws or as may be assigned by the Board. The term of the President shall be one year, beginning and ending at the conclusion of the Annual Board meeting. At the end of the term the president shall become the Immediate Past President.
Section 6: President-Elect
The President-Elect shall be elected by the Board and serve for a term of one year. The President-Elect shall serve as the presiding officer in the absence of the President or in the event of death or resignation of the President. At the end of the term the President-Elect shall become President if approved by the Board.
Section 7: Secretary
The Secretary shall be elected by the Board to serve for one to three terms of three years. The Secretary shall perform the usual duties devolving upon such office, including but not limited to ensuring a complete record of all members and their addresses is maintained, and such other data as the Board of Directors may require.
Section 8: Treasurer
The Treasurer shall be elected by the Board for one to three terms of three years, and shall perform the usual duties of such officer in concert with the Assistant Treasurer on the staff at the national office. At the annual meeting of the Board of Directors, the Treasurer shall present a written report of the financial standing of the Society that includes a detailed statement of all monies received and expended during the preceding year and a full report of the annual external audit and of the Audit committee of the Society. The Treasurer shall be bonded to such sum as the Board of Directors may require.
Section 9: Installation of Officers
The officers will be installed at the time of their election.
Section 10: Composition of the Board of Directors
The Board shall consist of members of the Society elected by the Board of Directors based on recommendations by the nominating committee and installed after election by the Board. At least nine shall be Members-at-Large, each elected for a three-year term. Members-at-large are limited to three consecutive terms, except that members who are elected officers may serve an additional one to three years. At least three shall be Councilor Directors who are Councilors of Chapters at the time of their election to the Board of Directors. Each shall be elected for one three-year term. At least three shall be student members of the Board, one elected each year to serve a three-year term. The student shall be elected so that he or she will serve in his or her senior year of medical school and first two years of residency. Nominations for student membership to the Board shall be submitted by Chapter Councilors to the nominating committee, which will recommend candidates for consideration by the Board. Additional members of the Board may be elected by the Board of Directors for three-year terms to fill specific functions or representing constituencies not covered by existing board members.
Section 11: Meetings of the Board
The Board of Directors shall meet at the call of the President or any six members of the Board at such place as may be decided. An annual meeting must be held each year following financial report completion for the previous year. The Board may also conduct business by correspondence, including facsimile, electronic mail, and by telephone conference, and votes so taken shall be binding. A record shall be kept of its action by the Secretary, and a report thereof shall be made to the next annual meeting of the Board. The Executive Committee of AΩA shall be the officers, the Assistant Treasurer, and Executive Director at the national office.
Section 12: Removal of Officers
The Board of Directors shall be empowered to remove officers for cause and to fill vacancies by majority vote.
Article VI: CHAPTER OFFICERS
Section 1: Composition
The officers of each Chapter shall be: President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, and Councilor. The President and Vice-President shall be student members. The offices of Secretary-Treasurer and Councilor may be held by the same person. When Chapter officers are chosen, the Councilor shall ensure that their names, school addresses, and other pertinent information are sent promptly to the national office of Alpha Omega Alpha.
Section 2: Chapter Councilor
The Councilor, who must be a member of the Faculty and of the Society, shall be appointed by the Dean of Medicine on the recommendation by the chapter to serve for three years. He or she may be reappointed to successive three-year terms, and shall be responsible to the Faculty and to the officers of the Society for the operation and well-being of the Chapter. With the student officers, the Councilor should help organize social, educational, and service projects of the Chapter, as well as arranging for full membership meeting(s) to select nominees for membership. The Councilor should be prepared each year to submit to the Executive Director a summary of the Chapter activities, including the use of funds provided for specific projects by the national office.
Section 3: Election of Chapter Officers
The President and Vice-President will be elected by fellow student members for one year. The officers shall arrange in concert with the Councilor periodic meetings of the Chapter and be responsible for generating social, educational, and service projects.
Section 4: Chapter Secretary-Treasurer
The Secretary-Treasurer shall be a member of the Faculty and of the Society, shall serve for three years, and may be re-elected to successive three-year terms at the discretion of the Chapter. He or she shall maintain accurate records of newly nominated members and submit them to the national office. These records will furnish the full name, date of nomination and induction, and e-mail and home addresses for each member. After graduation of new members, the Councilor shall make a strong effort to gather their new e-mail and home/office addresses to help ensure that the national office has contact information for them.
Article VII: CHAPTER MEETINGS
At least two meetings shall be held each academic year at times and places decided upon by the Chapter officers in consultation with the Councilor. This Society since its inception has been an organization of medical students. Every effort should be made to stimulate and maintain student interest in the Society and its mission. Chapters are urged to generate activities in which medical student members as well as non-members may take part.
A meeting to discuss the nomination of student members shall be held at least once each year. Other meetings for any purposes may be called at the discretion of the Chapter President in consultation with the Councilor. An annual Alpha Omega Alpha address by a distinguished member of the medical profession or other appropriate speaker should be sponsored by each Chapter. The address may be given on the same day as the annual dinner for the recognition of new members and may be combined with the Visiting Professorship sponsored by the national office of AΩA..
Section 3: Voting
All members of the Chapter are entitled to vote at a Chapter meeting or in response to receipt of a ballot by mail. Each Chapter shall establish the number of members constituting a quorum for the transaction of Chapter business and nomination of members.
Section 4: Fiscal Matters
Chapters may institute local membership dues each year at a level agreed upon by a majority of members constituting a quorum at the annual Chapter meeting. Other methods of fundraising for the Chapter must have the approval of the Executive Director acting on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Society.
Article VIII: CHAPTER EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The executive committee of a Chapter shall consist of the Chapter officers and the Councilor.
The Executive Committee shall be responsible for arranging the meeting programs, for providing a suitable speaker to deliver the annual Alpha Omega Alpha address, for the nomination of candidates for election, and for the transaction of necessary business in the intervals between Chapter meetings.
Article IX: NEW CHAPTERS
A Chapter may be chartered at a College or School of Medicine that meets the Society’s requirements and has received LCME accreditation. An application signed by the Dean and by at least six members of the Faculty of Medicine who are members of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society shall be sent to the President along with full information about the school’s financial status, admission criteria, curriculum, faculty, and scholarship aid. The President will refer the application to the Committee on New Chapters for evaluation of the application and to make a site visit to the school. Upon receipt of a favorable report from the Committee on New Chapters, the President shall submit the application and recommendation to the full Board of Directors. If the application is approved by the Board of Directors, the proposed charter shall be granted, and the school may appoint a councilor and nominate junior and senior members after the date of the granting of the charter. Nominations for student membership will be made by the Councilor and the six members signing the application in collaboration with the office of the Dean.
Section 2: Form of Charter
The form of the granting of charters shall be as follows:
“Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, by virtue of the authority granted to it by the State of Illinois, herewith grants to . . . . . . . . . . . . the power to establish a chapter of this Society at . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . subject to the Constitution governing said Society. In token of these presents are herewith affixed the signatures of the President and the Secretary, with the corporate seal of the Society.”
Article X: PROBATION, SUSPENSION AND WITHDRAWAL OF CHARTER FROM CHAPTERS
A Chapter may be placed on probation of one or two years for failure to fulfill expectations of the national office. After evaluation by the national office at the end of one or two years, the Chapter may be reinstated with full privileges or a decision to suspend the charter may ensue.
During suspension the Chapter shall not nominate or induct new members. Suspension can be lifted and the Chapter permitted to nominate new members at any time during the ensuing two years by the Board. If the Chapter has not fulfilled expectations after a two year suspension, the procedure for withdrawal shall be initiated (section 2).
The procedure for the withdrawal of a charter shall include:
A.) An investigation convincing to the Board of Directors that such action is desirable and a unanimous affirmative vote of the Board to that effect.
B.) Formal declaration by the President of Alpha Omega Alpha to withdraw the charter.
C.) Written notification of the withdrawal of a charter shall be forwarded to the chapter Councilor and the Dean of the Medical School.
In addition, the charter of a chapter in a school that loses its LCME accreditation will be suspended and the chapter cannot elect new members until accreditation has been reinstated.
Article XI: AMENDMENT TO CONSTITUTION
Proposals for amendment of the Constitution shall be submitted through the President to the Board at least sixty days before the next annual meeting of the Board. A two-thirds majority vote by the Board in favor shall be necessary to adopt any amendment or revision to the Constitution.
Article XII: OTHER PROVISIONS
- A standing Committee on New Chapters shall be appointed by the President with the approval of the Board of Directors. This committee shall, upon direction by the President, investigate applicant institutions and make recommendations thereon to the Board of Directors.
- An Executive Committee shall be appointed, consisting of the officers, the Assistant Treasurer, and the Executive Director. The duties of the Executive Committee shall be to transact routine business of the Society in the interim between meetings of the Board of Directors.
- The President shall appoint other committees, temporary or standing, as may from time to time be required.
- Fees and Dues
- The initiation fee to the Society will be established by the Board of Directors upon recommendation by the Assistant Treasurer and may change from time to time as deemed necessary.
- Annual sustaining dues shall be set by the Board of Directors upon recommendation by the Assistant Treasurer and shall be payable on-line or by mail upon receipt of notice. The fee for lifetime dues will be set by the Board of Directors upon recommendation by the Assistant Treasurer.
- Fiscal Policy
- The Board of Directors must approve an annual budget. There shall be an annual audit by an independent accounting firm.
- The fiscal year shall extend from September 1 to August 31.
- Publication Policy
- The Pharos shall be the official publication of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. The Board is the publisher of The Pharos and responsible for editorial policy and management.
- The Editor of The Pharos shall be appointed by the Board of Directors and provide an annual report to the Board.
- Advertisements will not be included in The Pharos without the consent of the Board of Directors.
- The editor of The Pharos shall be an ex officio member of the Board of Directors of the Society and may also serve as Executive Director of the Society at the discretion and direction of the Board of Directors.
- Dissolution of Alpha Omega Alpha
In the event of dissolution of Alpha Omega Alpha at some future date, the net assets of the society will be distributed to another non-profit organization qualified for tax exempt status under I.R.S. section 501(c)(3).
For all purposes this Constitution shall constitute the corporate Bylaws of the Society.