"Be worthy to serve the suffering."

-William W. Root, MD - Founder, 1902

AΩA Award for Excellence in Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Medical Education and Patient Care

This award recognizes medical schools (and their associated AΩA Chapter) that demonstrate exemplary leadership, innovation, and engagement in fostering an inclusive culture that transforms the ideals of inclusion, diversity, and equity into successful programs that support medical student, house staff, and faculty diversity in service to the community.

Criteria for selection may include a broad range of diversity and inclusiveness centered initiatives: efforts to support recruitment and retention of medical students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds; teaching and/or research that expands and embraces an understanding of inclusiveness and overcoming unconscious and conscious bias while increasing fairness and objectivity in evaluations and grading; multicultural programming or related initiatives; community outreach and pipeline activities; programs that enhance diversity and inclusion; mentoring, coaching, and/or role modeling programs related to diversity and inclusion; socialization of students, faculty, and staff to enhance collaboration and integration; established programs/activities that advance an understanding of, and astute respect for, cultural competence; and other thoughtful programs/activities that enhance diversity and equity.

Important Dates

Deadline for submission

October 10, 2023

Award Announcements

December 1, 2023

2023 Award Recipients

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society is proud to announce the recipients of its Award for Excellence in Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Medical Education and Patient Care. The 2022 awards go to:

University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine aims to connect with students from diverse backgrounds well before they even apply to medical school through programs like their: Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program or Medical Careers Exposure and Emergency Preparedness.  These programs are run by students who enthusiastically support the next generation of physicians through mentorship and education programs. Pritzker also offers summer pathway programs for undergraduate students in the Chicago Academic Medicine Program and the Pritzker School of Medicine Experience in Research.  Pritzker School of Medicine relies on several programs and resources to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are prioritized from the admissions process through graduation.  All first-year students take the required Health Equity, Advocacy, and Anti- Racism course, featuring lectures from faculty experts and community leaders, the course aims to further students’ understanding of health disparities and inspire them to be part of the solution to them.

Tulane University School of Medicine understands the importance of diversifying its learners, faculty, and staff to better serve the students and residents it teaches and the patients they care for.  Over the past two years, three new pathway programs have been successfully launched, namely the New Orleans Health Leaders Project (NOHLP), the Purposeful Infrastructure Promoting Equality (PIPE) program, and the Introduction to the Medical Profession: a Rotation to Empower Students (IMPRESS) program.  There are several activities where the Tulane School of Medicine is promoting diversity such as: collaboration within departments for implementation of pathway programs; establishment of fourth-year rotating student award rotation for underrepresented students applying to residency; yearly bias and DEI training for all faculty, residents, and educating staff; and expansion of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. 

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine has developed several programs to advance their inclusion, diversity, and equity goals.  They chartered an Addressing Racism and Bias Task Force (ARB TF) to implement a process to evaluate racism and bias present within each phase of their curriculum. The Allyship Faculty Development Program at USUHS was inspired and developed when a student presented her research indicating that Black students felt unsure about which faculty members to approach at USUHS.  Project ASPEN is a peer-to-peer, train-the-trainer program focused on increasing inclusive language utilization consistent with AMA guidance. This student-faculty jointly designed program leverages best practices in implementation science, community education, and restorative justice principles.


Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society is dedicated to improving 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; and promoting service to others.

AΩA is committed to improving diversity and fully supports the fact that inclusion of talented individuals from different backgrounds benefits patient care, population health, education, and scientific discovery. AΩA recognizes that this may be achieved by empowering individuals at various stages in their educational pursuit and career thereby forging a diverse, inclusive, rich environment in medicine now and into the future.

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.

Additional Criteria

  •  The extent to which the school’s activities and programs have promoted an environment that is welcoming, supportive and nurturing of cultural, ethnic, racial, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, and other human and cultural differences.
  •  The extent to which the school’s activities and programs have contributed to raising awareness and consciousness about diversity and inclusion.
  •  The extent to which the school’s activities and programs have positively impacted the medical school community and the AΩA Chapter and its members.
  •  The scope of the school’s and Chapter’s activities and programs and how they reflect on values and professionalism.
  •  The extent to which the school’s and/or Chapter’s program has engaged in an expansion of the eligibility and nomination of more diverse groups of medical students, residents, and faculty to membership in AΩA.
  •  The extent to which the school’s and/or Chapter’s program supports the organization’s mission, vision, and values.

The Award

Up to three awards will be presented each year. Recipients will receive a $5,000 cash award to be used to further develop schoolwide and/or Chapter programs to support the school’s or Chapter’s efforts toward inclusion of under-represented  students. Recipients will be recognized at the biennial AΩA Councilors Retreat, and in AΩA communications including The Pharos. They will also receive a framed certificate of recognition from AΩA for the Chapter to display in the Dean’s office, or another prominent area in the medical school.


All medical schools with an AΩA Chapter. AΩA members included in the nomination packet must have active dues status in AΩA. Chapters that have received the award are not eligible to submit another application for three subsequent years.


Candidates and programs should be nominated based on meritorious service over and above those expected by the institution. Nominees should have demonstrated support for the ideals of the care of others and an exhibited commitment to diversity and inclusion. The AΩA Councilor at each school is responsible for the nomination process. Nominations should be submitted online in a single PDF by October 28, 2021.


Nominators (the school’s Chapter Councilor) should submit the following:


  •  Application form.
  •  Letter of support from the Dean of the medical school, commenting on the program and its effectiveness, and describing how it enhances diversity and inclusion for the school.
  •  Description of the program, process or outcome measures, implementation details, effectiveness, and sustainability measures.


Selection Committee and Process

The selection committee will be composed of members of the AΩA Task Force on Membership and Elections. Members of the Task Force who work for a school or institution which has submitted an application for this award shall recuse themselves from the selection process.

Past Recipients

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society is proud to announce the recipients of its Award for Excellence in Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Medical Education and Patient Care. The 2022 awards go to:

The Ohio State University College of Medicine (OSUCOM) where a diversity of cultures and life experiences strengthens their mission to provide evidence-based health care and academics.  OSUCOM has many youth outreach and pipeline programs including MD Camp which is a student run, immersive, three-week camp geared toward underrepresented  students to expose them to the various facets of health care careers.  The Medical Careers Pathway Post Baccalaureate Program (MEDPATH) is a one-year program to help students develop the academic skills and knowledge necessary for matriculation into medical school.  In addition, OSUCOM has implemented an anti-racism curriculum with students participating in lectures, courses, and assessments.  OSUCOM also has several student-run free clinics that are for underserved and underinsured populations including the Noor Community Clinic (Middle Eastern and African populations), the Asian Free Clinic, La Clinica Latina, and the Columbus Free Clinic which includes the Rainbow Clinic specializing in the LGBTQIA+ population.

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania endeavors to improve access for underrepresented individuals to pursue their dreams of becoming physicians.  Pipeline initiatives include the Educational Pipeline Program which recruits high school students from West Philadelphia and provides year-round programming with school-day classes, and a summer component.  The Johnson Scholars Program focuses on students identifying as First-Generation Low Income and provides mentorship, academic support, community engagement, research opportunities, and access to leadership training.  Penn Access Summer Scholars Program (PASS) is highly selective and is focused on URM undergraduates at several institutions, providing mentorship, shadowing experiences, career narratives and an intensive two summers of research along with linkage admission into Perelman School of Medicine.

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society is proud to announce the recipients of its Award for Excellence in Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Medical Education and Patient Care. The 2021 awards go to:

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University College of Medicine, which is located in a medically underserved area in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City, embraces the concept that physicians, students, and educators from diverse backgrounds working to care for a diverse community will embolden the community and the profession of medicine. The school offers 14 pipeline programs to recruit under-represented students, has a strong commitment to supporting faculty diversity, and provides curricular inclusivity to train doctors to provide excellent medical care to a diverse population as represented by the community served by its affiliated hospitals and clinics. The school has achieved a representation of 31 percent Black and Hispanic/Latino students enrolled as first-year students, which adds to a student body that speaks 54 different languages. The school also provides paracurricular learning opportunities for students through electives, pathways, and asynchronous learning modules on health equity and social justice. 

The University of Florida College of Medicine has expanded their diversity focus, commitment, practices and curriculum to better reflect their community and ensure everyone is trained in an inclusive environment that promotes cultural humility while addressing health care disparities, social determinants of health, and structural racism. The school has increased the percentage of URiM students from 11 percent for the class of 2013 to 26 percent for the class of 2025, and when including disadvantaged or first-generation students these groups make up 39 percent of the class. In 2019, the school created Diversity Liaison positions to join the Executive Board of each class, and in 2020 a student-initiated and led Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI) Task Force was implemented to make recommendations that supplement and enhance ongoing diversity initiatives specifically related to the experience of Black medical students and Black patient populations. Also implemented in 2020, a student-initiated task force on LGBTQ+ education was established to make recommendations that increase content related to gender identity and transgender patient care.

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society is proud to announce the recipients of its Award for Excellence in Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Medical Education and Patient Care. The 2020 awards go to:

Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM) for its innovative admissions policies and unique curriculum that incorporates service learning to foster social accountability, especially with underserved South Florida communities. HWCOM is committed to diversity in its student body and faculty, as well as to diversity in medical practitioners of tomorrow, because of this they have initiated a number of pipeline programs such as: the Florida Science Training and Research Fellowship Program, Doctors of Tomorrow, and the Premedical Undergraduate Mentoring Program.

University of South Florida Morsanl College of Medicine (MCOM) has created a curricular thread integrated into all four years of training called Humanism in Action. This curriculum involves teaching students the communication skills necessary to elicit the values of their patients and then integrate those values into the medical plan for the patient. The students understanding of their patients’ values and culture improves the students’ ability to respect and reflect their patients’ values and culture in the medical care they are providing.

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society is proud to announce the recipients of its Award for Excellence in Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Medical Education and Patient Care. The 2019 awards go to:

Meharry Medical College School of Medicine for its pipeline programs that feature comprehensive social and academic enrichment toward encouraging young minority students to pursue careers in the health sciences.

State University of New York Upstate Medical University College of Medicine for its development of a series of innovative programs to enhance the recruitment of a diverse student body and efforts to advance their campus culture to be more inclusive.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for its Internal Medicine Residency Program with its deliberate and thoughtful approach to improving the recruitment of students underrepresented in medicine, which has resulted in the most diverse class of interns in the programs history the past two years and more than any residency program within the school.

University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences for its Indians into Medicine program that seeks out, nurtures, and supports American Indian and Alaskan Native students on their paths to becoming physicians. The program ensures that nearly 10% of the School’s medical class each year are a part of the American Indian population.

All AΩA awards, fellowships, grants, and program submissions must be electronically submitted through the appropriate page on the AΩA website