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Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society: A Commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Service in the Profession of Medicine
An article is published in Academic Medicine
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.
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.
As many of the new medical schools approach full accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), they apply to Alpha Omega Alpha to charter an AΩA Chapter at their institution. These new institutions must then submit documents and host a site visit from AΩA leadership. A recommendation is submitted to the Board of Directors and a new Chapter is granted by a Board vote. In the last four years, the Board of Directors of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society has approved new Chapters of the society at seven new medical schools.
We welcome the new AΩA Chapters, their Councilors, Secretary-Treasurers, Chapter members, and newly elected medical students. They are:
Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine - Epsilon Michigan
Thomas Ryan, MD—Councilor
Cooper Medical School of Rowan University—Gamma New Jersey
Michael E. Chansky, MD—Councilor
University of Connecticut School of Medicine—Beta Connecticut
Kevin Dieckhaus, MD—Councilor
University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville—Gamma South Carolina
Robert Gates, MD—Councilor
Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine—Eta Florida
Michelle Schwartz, MD—Councilor
Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine—Delta Michigan
Pamela Benitez, MD—Councilor
Hofstra North Shore–LIJ School of Medicine at Hofstra University—Nu New York
Jose Prince, MD—Councilor
Updated on March 10, 2020.