"Be worthy to serve the suffering."

-William W. Root, MD - Founder, 1902

How Members Are Chosen

All medical students on entry to medical school, residents, fellows, and all physicians throughout their career are eligible for AΩA.

AΩA is committed to national leadership in advancing diversity and inclusion in the profession of medicine. Chapters are provided the flexibility to value the diversity of qualities that contribute to high quality patient care, leadership, service, and scholarship. Chapters are expected to embrace and respect differences and foster creativity in how they celebrate students who contribute in these important ways. AΩA expects an unbiased, inclusive nomination and election process.

Membership in AΩA may be attained as a medical student, resident, fellow, faculty member, alumni, clinician, or distinguished leader in medicine. Each school may elect up to 20% of the graduating class of students, up to 25 residents/fellows, up to 10 faculty, and three to five alumni, who, based on merit, demonstrate the characteristics of excellent physicians in alignment with AΩA’s mission and values.

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. Nominees must be in good academic standing and must not have any professionalism concerns.

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 their penultimate year.

Each school/Chapter will identify evidence-based methods for determining eligibility 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/Chapter 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, e.g., handouts, orientation, website, etc.

Diversity Statement

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AΩA) is committed to improving diversity based on evidence that inclusion of talented individuals from different backgrounds benefits patient care, population health, education, and scientific discovery.

AΩA will continue to work to overcome bias – implicit/unconscious bias – as well as discrimination at all levels throughout the organization.

AΩA values a diverse, fair, and equitable work and learning environment for all. It supports the medical profession in its work to achieve a welcoming, diverse, inclusive environment in teaching, learning, caring for patients, and collaboration.

AΩA advocates for diversity in all of its forms – identity, cultural, geographic, experiential, race, ethnicity, gender, age, economic and social status, physical abilities, aptitude, and religious beliefs, political beliefs, and other ideologies.

AΩA is committed to working with its members, Chapters, medical schools, residency programs, and health organizations to improve diversity within the organization and throughout the medical profession.

No candidate shall be denied election because of age, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy status, gender, identity or expression, sexual orientation, language, physical or mental disability, marital, civil union or domestic partnership status, veteran status, socioeconomic status, religious or political beliefs, or any other characteristic protected by the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action laws of a state, province, territory, or nation.

This statement applies to membership in the society, as well as all programs, awards, personnel, and all other AΩA functions.

AΩA supports and promotes diversity among its Officers and Board and in its programs and awards including: race, ethnicity, gender, geography, academia, community, organizations, institutions, specialties and professional activities.

The primary criteria for Board positions and programs and awards will be merit and achievement(s).

Academic Medicine Article I

AΩA has a strong and long-standing tradition of electing for membership excellent doctors – those who exhibit the highest levels of character, trust, trustworthiness, leadership, professionalism, scholarship, and community service. AΩA members unconditionally represent our motto of “Being Worthy To Serve The Suffering.”

Recently, AΩA was invited to write an article for Academic Medicine on its efforts to ensure that it is an accepting, inclusive, diverse and equitable organization. Attached is a link to an article written by Executive Director Richard L. Byyny, MD, FACP, and members of the AΩA Board of Directors, AΩA Chapter Councilors, and AΩA staff.

We hope that the article provides readers with an awareness of the efforts of AΩA, its Chapters, Councilors, and members to ensure that the organization is accepting of all regardless of race, creed, color, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation/identification.

Read the article

Academic Medicine Article II

Toward Creating Equity in Awards Received During Medical School

Strategic Changes at One Institution

Membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) honor society is a widely recognized achievement valued by residency selection committees and employers. Yet research has shown selection favors students from racial/ethnic groups not underrepresented in medicine (not-UIM). The authors describe efforts to create equity in AΩA selection at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, through implementation of a holistic selection process, starting with the class of 2017, and present the outcomes.

Informed by the definition of holistic review, medical school leaders applied a series of strategic changes grounded in evidence on inclusion, mitigating bias, and increasing opportunity throughout the AΩA selection process. These addressed increasing selection committee diversity; revising selection criteria and training committee members to review applications using a new instrument; broadening student eligibility and inviting applications; reviewing blinded applications; and making final selection decisions based on review and discussion of a rank-ordered list of students that equally weighted academic achievement and professional contributions.

The authors compared AΩA eligibility and selection outcomes for 3 classes (2014–2016) during clerkship-metric-driven selection, which prioritized academic achievement, and 3 classes (2017–2019) during holistic selection. During clerkship-metric-driven selection, not-UIM students were 4 times more likely than UIM students to be eligible for AΩA (P = .001) and 3 times more likely to be selected (P =. 001). During holistic selection, not-UIM students were 2 times more likely than UIM students to be eligible for AΩA (P = .001); not-UIM and UIM students were similarly likely to be selected (odds ratio = .7, P = .12)

This new holistic selection process created equity in the representation of UIM students among students selected to AΩA. Centered on equity pedagogy, which advocates dismantling structures that create inequity, this holistic selection process has implications for creating equity in awards selection processes during medical education.

Link to article