"Be worthy to Serve the Suffering" Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Key Background

Locate a Member

Enter the first part of a member's last name to search


New Member Registration

Search this Site

Contact Information

National Office
12635 E. Montview Blvd., Suite 270
Aurora, CO 80045
P: (720) 859-4149
F: (720) 859-4158
E: info@alphaomegaalpha.org

National and chapter news

2013 Medical Student Service Leadership Project Award winners

Alpha Omega Alpha is committed to preparing future leaders in medicine and health care. Leadership is about making a positive difference, and is learned through education, observation, and experience, and working with leader mentors. Service leadership may develop an excellent opportunity for students to develop as servant leaders. The most effective leaders are well grounded in and committed to positive professional values.

AΩA developed this award to support leadership development for medical students through mentoring, observation, and service learning.

Amount of the award: $5000 for the first year, $3000 for the second year, $1000 for the third year

The winners of this year's award are:

  • Duke University School of Medicine's Duke Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Program: Student leader Kyle Gibler (AΩA, Duke University, 2012) and student team members Marisa Dowling, Parastou Fatemi, Nimit Lad, and Peter Wei. Mentor leader Dean Taylor, MD; and mentor team members Saumil Chudgar, MD (AΩA, Duke University, 2007), and Devdutta Sangvai, MD, MBA.

  • State University of New York Upstate Medical University's Helping Hands for Forgotten Feet: Student leader Jessica Sassani and student team members Matthew Helm, Stefanos Haddad, and Caitlyn Foote. Mentor leader Susan Stearns, PhD (AΩA, SUNY Upstate University, 2006) , and mentor team members Lynn Cleary, MD (AΩA, Ohio State University, 1978); Ruth Weinstock, MD, PhD (AΩA, Columbia University, 1980); Ryan D'Amico, DPM; and Thomas Helm, MD (AΩA, Albany Medical College, 1987).

  • Mercer University School of Medicine's MUSM Service Leadership Program: Student team leader Mary Kate Clairborne and student team members Andres Montes, Godfrey Ilonzo, Alison Smith, Tia Bingham, Keith Reeves, Bryan Renken, Kristen Walker, and Haresh Soorma. Mentor leader Martin Greenberg, MD (AΩA, Albany Medical College, 1973); and mentor team members T. Philip Malan, Jr., MD, PhD; Marie Dent, PhD, EdS, MBA; Robert Shelley, MD; Sarfaraz Dhanji, MD; and Miriam Rittmeyer, MD, PhD, MPH.

The Duke Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Program

Despite a growing need for physician leaders in the U.S. health care system and abroad, very little formal leadership training occurs at the medical student level. Duke University School of Medicine hopes to change that by implementing the Duke Leadership and Education (LEAD) Program, a formal, four-year leadership curriculum for all Duke medical students. Through this program, Duke aims to develop and train future physicians to be more effective agents of change in dynamic and complex health care environments.

The following core competencies represent the desired outcomes of the program. These competencies will be evaluated and tracked using faculty and peer evaluations and feedback:

  1. fundamental leadership theory
  2. self-management
  3. teamwork
  4. communication
  5. mentorship
  6. health care acumen
  7. service
  8. improvement and innovation.

The LEAD Program will span all four years of medical education. The first and second years will be primarily didactic, focusing on lectures, workshops, and small group activities. The third and fourth years will be experiential, providing students real-world opportunities to practice newly acquired skills through a variety of active leadership roles, including underclassmen mentorship and hospital-based service projects.

  • First & Second Year: Didactic learning—Example activities: team building workshop; small group activity on giving effective feedback; lecture on leading interdisciplinary health care teams
  • Third & Fourth Year: Experiential learning—Example activities: hospital-based project on improving no-show rates at Durham free clinic; Feagin Leadership Scholars Program; mentorship of underclassmen in leadership development

The curriculum will include a diverse team of speakers and collaborators, such as individuals from Duke School of Medicine, Duke Fuqua School of Business, Duke Corporate Education, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School, and the Feagin Leadership Program. Duke LEAD Program student leaders will have the opportunity to assist in the delivery of lectures and workshops and will also work with organizations within the hospital and the community to identify opportunities for experiential service projects. Faculty mentors will teach and mentor students in all four years of the curriculum and serve as advisers for experiential learning projects.

Students discussing military leadership principles with retired Army officers.


SUNY Upstate's Helping Hands for Forgotten Feet

Helping Hands for Forgotten Feet (HHFF) is a novel program designed by medical students of SUNY Upstate Medical University to provide foot care and health education to the large homeless population who frequent the Syracuse Rescue Mission. The clinical goals of this project are as follows: (1) conduct shoe and sock drives for the Rescue Mission on a semiannual basis, (2) organize and run a monthly foot care clinic open to all visitors of the Syracuse Rescue Mission in order to provide medical foot care and offer basic care supplies, and (3) conduct foot care education sessions at the Rescue Mission to improve the medical literacy and health of this patient population. Additionally, this project allows Upstate Medical University students to serve their community while developing leadership and advocacy skills through a program that brings together AΩA members and junior medical students.

AΩA has developed a leadership curriculum to supplement HHFF clinical activities. There will be four to six scheduled interactive lectures each academic year pertaining to the role of a leader, improving communication and leadership skills and the role of advocacy in medicine, among other topics. Currently, a lecture by Dr. Gregory Eastwood, Professor of Bioethics and Humanities, Professor of Medicine and former President of Upstate Medical University, is being planned for March. He will be speaking to the Upstate Medical University student body regarding defining the role of a leader within a clinical context. Moreover, involved students will have an opportunity to improve leadership and advocacy skills at each clinic with the fourth year AΩA medical students overseeing the clinic and the first year medical students gaining increasing amounts of responsibility and experience as the year progresses.

HHFF held its first free clinic on February 21st, 2013. There were two AΩA members, eight first year medical students and two medical doctors in attendance. Eighteen patients received care and treatment for various problems ranging from painful calluses to ankle sprains and poor shoe support. We reached capacity and already have a full patient roster for the next clinic in March. The interest by both Rescue Mission visitors and staff was impressive. The patients were grateful for the attention, care and needed foot supplies provided and the Rescue Mission was encouraging and enthusiastic about future clinics. Overall, the first Helping Hands for Forgotten Feet clinic was an overwhelming success and we look forward to continuing this worthy cause with the generous support of AΩA.

Mercer University School of Medicine Service Leadership Program


Foreseeing an era of physician leaders trained to collaborate more closely and advocate more effectively for the needs of the underserved, students at Mercer University School of Medicine will create an experiential leadership training program focused on the development of community-responsive physician leaders. The project includes the following three key components: developing and implementing a service-leadership curriculum, developing a community mentoring program, and developing a student-driven free healthcare clinic. Leaders of the School of Medicine foresee offering this program to the Macon and Columbus, GA campuses as well.

Team members Tia Bingham, M. Marie Dent, PhD, Godfrey Ilonzo, Bryan Renken, Martin Greenberg, MD, and Haresh Soorma.

Service Leadership Curriculum

During the project period, students will explore leadership curricula implemented at other medical schools. Experts will be invited to the Savannah Campus to share their insights on the content and structure of leadership programs; these sessions will be videoconferenced to the Macon and Columbus campuses. Other speakers at monthly meetings will provide instruction on such topics as advocacy, law, and the legislative process. The proposed service leadership curriculum will include defined competencies, delivery methods, evaluation approaches, and a dissemination plan for all three campuses. Insights from faculty, staff and community stakeholders as well as preceptor and student-led reflections will be integrated into the curriculum as well. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to present their findings at a MUSM service-learning conference.

Community Mentoring Program

In parallel with the leadership curriculum development, interested students will have the benefit of building mentoring relationships with community leaders. Through four to six one-on-one sessions during the year, the community mentor will augment student insight into the plight of the underserved, the role of service organizations in promoting community health, and the employment of core leadership skills in practice.

Student Run Medical Clinics

Students will partner with two volunteer and nonprofit organizations that provide free/low cost health care for medically underserved individuals: Community Health Mission (CHM) in Savannah and The Hearts and Hands Clinic (HHC) in Statesboro, GA. Students will have the opportunity to directly reach Savannah’s underserved, urban patients through CHM, and through HHC, to treat underserved individuals from rural and migrant populations. The Saturday clinic will benefit the clinics and the patients by reducing patient waiting lists for the clinics. As the students develop and implement the Saturday clinics, the “hands on” leadership experience will reinforce core competencies developed through the leadership curriculum.

Updated on May 2, 2013.