Alpha Omega Alpha
Alpha Omega Alpha is the national medical honor society. It was founded in 1902 by William Webster Root and five fellow students at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago. At the time that William Root and his colleagues founded the organization, they were distressed at the “rowdiness, boorishness, and low educational ideals” of many of their fellow students. To address these concerns, Root and the other students proposed a medical honor society dedicated to encouraging the highest standards of scholarship, integrity and service to patients. The purpose of AΩA was intended to recognize scholarship and high moral standards and encourage students to be “worthy to serve the suffering,” the society’s motto.
The society’s mission statement 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; and promoting service to others.”
Membership selection criteria
Membership selection criteria for AΩA are outlined in our Student Handbook located on Canvas.
AΩA National Awards
Each year, AΩA grants more than $1.75 million in the form of 12 national programs to medical students, residents, fellows, mid-career physicians, and faculty for awards, projects, and prizes that recognize outstanding commitment and dedication to caring for others and providing high quality health care. Students do not need to be AOA members to apply or receive the awards.
For more information, including due dates, regarding these programs and the other programs AΩA offers, visit the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society website.
Fellowships and Programs
Programs relevant to medical students include the following:
Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship
To promote basic and clinical research in medical fields, social science, or health services, AΩA awards up to fifty $5,000 fellowships each year to medical students at schools with active AΩA chapters.
Because only one candidate from each chapter may apply annually, there is a VTCSOM internal application process that can be found in the Research Domain on Canvas, or detailed in this downloadable attachment.
Helen H. Glaser Student Essay Award
To encourage scholarly writing, this awards offers prizes for essays on nontechnical medical topics. Winning essays are published in The Pharos.
Medical Student Service Leadership Project Grant
Each chapter may submit one proposal for a project funded for three years at $5,000 for the first year, $3,000 for the second, and $1,000 for the third.
Robert H. Moser Essay Award
A $4,500 writing prize to honor one of the great leaders in American medicine, the late Robert H. Moser, MD (AΩA, Georgetown University, 1969). This prize will be awarded to an original, outstanding essay that celebrates the life of a physician like Dr. Moser who has enriched the world through his/her careers within, related to, and/or outside of medicine.
The Pharos Poetry Award
To encourage students to write effective poetry. Winning poems are published in The Pharos.
Email Alpha Omega Alpha with any questions.