Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) is a national Honor Medical Society with over 120 Chapters around the country. Its purpose is to recognize and perpetuate excellence in the medical profession. Its mission statement is “AOA is dedicated to the believe 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.”
UW AOA Election Process
Read “How members Are Chosen” from the National AOA website to learn more about AOA eligibility, selection, and membership.
There are two opportunities for students to be elected into the UW Chapter of AOA: the Spring ‘Junior’ Election and the Fall ‘Senior’ Election.
About the Spring Election:
During the Spring election in April, between 7 and 13 MS3 students are elected. The students are elected by current chapter members including MS4 students, faculty, and residents. For students to be eligible for this election, they must have a Step 1 score above the class average, and be in the top 25% of their class in terms of their grades on required third-year clerkships. Step scores are only used in the Spring Election because eligible MS3’s would not have completed their core clerkships by the time of the election.
About the Fall Election:
During the Fall election in September, MS4 students are elected. Per national guidelines, up to 20% of the graduating class can be elected to the chapter (which includes those already elected in Spring). The students are elected by the current chapter members: MS4 students, faculty, and residents.
Per national guidelines, for students to be eligible for this election, they must be in the top 25% of their class in terms of their grades on required third-year clerkships. Additionally, the UW Chapter has decided to also include the top 25% of all self-reported racial/ethnicity categories. For this election, there is no Step 1 score requirement for eligibility since MS4’s have at this point completed their core clerkships .
What is considered for election:
Factors considered in elections are as follows: required clerkship grades, research and publications, UWSOM involvement, leadership, and community service. In addition, nomination comments are solicited by the chapter from clerkship program directors, College Mentors, PhD advisors, and peers, and these comments are reviewed by the chapter for all candidates before voting.
Student names are de-identified by a non-voting member of AOA before being reviewed by the AOA voting body. The chapter will elect members that exemplify strong scholastic achievement, utmost professionalism in medicine, leaders who set an example worth emulating, and those who have a high record of service in the medical school and community at large.
What actions do students need to take?
- To be considered for AOA, students must complete the AOA application before the deadline. An email will be sent before each election about this. Contained within the application are the grade release authorization*, the lived experiences statement, service and activities, and research and publications.
- In order for the school to adhere to the FERPA law and release your clerkship grades and Step score (by quartile) to the AOA chapter, students must sign an authorization form granting permission to do so. An email will be sent before each election about this.
- The UW chapter is requiring a short ‘Lived Experiences Statement‘ from each student eligible for AOA election. This is to provide additional or unique information/experiences that would not be included on a student’s CV.
What other information will the chapter see?*
In addition to seeing grades, nomination comments, service/publication information, and Lived Experience statements, there are a few other pieces of information that are attached to your de-identified name:
- Grade quartile
- Foundations site
- Race/ethnicity, as self-identified in admissions application (listed as Caucasian, URiM, Multi-racial with URiM, Non-Caucasian & Non-URiM, or No response)
*Elected student names are read aloud to the chapter, but at no point are names linked to the information listed above.
National AOA Programs for medical students
Alpha Omega Alpha annually conducts a survey in partnership with the III office to characterize current students’ research experiences. Responses from this questionnaire help connect future students to new mentors, grants/scholarships, and publication opportunities. In particular, AOA is interested in hearing from individuals involved in ongoing community/QI work, those who have found outside funding sources, and those who have attended academic conferences other than WSMRF.