Alpha Omega Alpha at the University of North Carolina
Alpha Omega Alpha, founded in 1902, is a medical honor society dedicated to the belief that we can 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. Election to Alpha Omega Alpha signifies a lasting commitment to scholarship, leadership, professionalism, and service. Membership in the society confers recognition of someone’s dedication to the profession and art of healing. UNC’s chapter of AOA was founded in 1954 and is proud to induct new medical students, residents, alumni, and faculty into the chapter each year.
Eligibility for Student Nomination
For medical students, those with scholastic qualifications that place them in the upper 30% of the class are eligible for AOA nomination. Of these nominated students, one-sixth of the total number of the class expected to graduate may be selected for membership. Only those currently enrolled in the School of Medicine are eligible. Students participating in dual degree programs are not eligible while they are enrolled in graduate school, but could be eligible during the spring before they leave for graduate school, or in the fall when they are re-enrolled as School of Medicine students.
Junior AOA Nomination (spring)
- The numerical grades for each course in Application Phase are averaged by credit hour and used to calculate the top 30% of the class. Students who receive all Honors in their Application Phase courses may not meet numerical criteria for eligibility if their numerical criteria does not place them in the top 30% of the class. Only students who have completed Application Phase at the time of nominations will be considered for membership.
Senior AOA Nomination (fall)
- The numerical grades of each Application AND Individualization Phase courses (Blocks 1-4), averaged by credit hour, are used to calculate the top 30% of the class. Application Phase courses are weighted at 15 credits each and Individualization Phase courses are weighted at 6 credits each. For Individualization Phase courses, the letter grade equivalents are as follows: H=100, HP=75, and P=50. No blocks taken off or P/F courses (i.e. Research or Career Exploration electives) are included in these calculations. The selection committee makes every effort to elect and notify Senior members prior to September 15th. Students who receive all Honors in their Application and/or Individualization Phase courses may not meet numerical criteria for eligibility. Students are only eligible for AOA nomination and election in the fall immediately prior to their graduation.
- If students take Individualization Phase courses outside of the Individualization Phase (i.e. as an elective during Foundation Phase or during an extended Step 1 study time prior to App Phase), then these courses are not factored into the student’s numerical grader average. Intensive Integration/ SHS4 is not calculated into the numerical grade average, as it is a P/F course.
- Numerical grade averages are calculated for the fall elections including courses through June of Individualization Phase. If a student’s grade is not available at the time the calculations are completed in August, then the grade cannot be used for the average grade calculation.
- The selection committee makes every effort to elect and notify Senior members prior to September 15th. Students who receive all Honors in their Application and/or Individualization Phase courses may not meet numerical criteria for eligibility if their numerical grade average does not place them in the top 30% of the class. Students are only eligible for AOA nomination and election in the fall immediately prior to their graduation.
For further details regarding how grades are calculated for AOA nomination, please click here (AOA Example Calc).
Notification of eligibility
Students eligible for nomination will be notified of the details by email. Appearing on the election ballot requires the student to provide a standardized CV, formatted to the provided template (AOA Spring 2022 CV Template), detailing involvement during medical school and a release of information. We request that students remove any NBME test scores from their application, as these will not be considered during the election.
Medical students who are eligible for AOA nomination are reviewed by a committee of faculty and students. The faculty on the committee are chosen each year from UNC SOM faculty who have previously been elected to AOA. The students on the committee are the students who are currently members of AOA. One faculty member and two students review each medical student candidate using a standardized rubric.
These reviewers evaluate the student based on academic performance, leadership capabilities, demonstrated professionalism, and a record of service to the school and community. The evaluation criteria was recently further revised to include a focus on activities that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. Faculty members complete this evaluation by reviewing a nominee’s standardized CV, MSPE, and transcript. For spring elections the MSPE will only include clerkship course evaluations and comments that are available in a student’s permanent file; the MSPE in fall elections will also include evaluations and comments from Individualization Phase courses, in addition to the student’s noteworthy characteristics.
Should evaluations of the three reviewers differ significantly, another reviewer will submit an evaluation. These evaluations are presented to voting members at semi-annual elections. The students with the most votes are nominated for membership.
Candidates are also evaluated based on their ethical standards, ability to deal fairly with colleagues, and demonstrated professionalism. Any candidate with a record of professionalism offense may be removed from consideration for AOA by the selection committee and/or the Dean of Student Affairs.
Residents, fellows, alumni, and faculty are nominated for membership by voting members at the election meetings according to similar criteria of academic achievement, leadership, professionalism, and service. For residents, fellows, and faculty, special attention is given to excellence in the teaching of medical students. Alumni of UNC are eligible for nomination after ten or more years following graduation. The number of each of these four groups that is eligible for nomination depends on the size of the medical school class.
Resident/Fellow, Faculty, and Alumni Nominations
Our AOA chapter may elect Residents/Fellows, Faculty, and Alumni who have never previously been elected to AOA. Nationally, AOA bases Resident/Fellow, Faculty, and Alumni elections on medical school class size. For a medical school of UNC’s size we are able to elect a maximum of 5 resident members, 4 faculty members, and 4 alumni members. Specific eligibility requirements are included below.
- Must have completed their first year of residency at time of induction
- Must show commitment to and excellence in teaching medical students
- Must be UNC School of Medicine faculty
- Do not need an MD, but must have a post-doctoral degree (PhD, PharmD, EdD, DO, MD)
- Faculty who receive no direct monetary compensation from the school of medicine but teach students are eligible
- Must have graduated from UNC with a Doctor of Medicine degree
- Must have been graduated for 10+ years
Nominated parties will be evaluated for continued academic and professional achievement, leadership, professionalism, service, teaching, and research based on their CV and an optional letter of endorsement. Elections for Residents/Fellows, Faculty, and Alumni happen once a year, in the spring, and follow the same election format as for medical student nominees.
Statement on Diversity in AOA
The UNC chapter of AOA is committed to recognizing the work and achievements of our diverse student body. We have worked diligently to continually make the election process more objective and to recognize and remove potential opportunities for bias. Per the national AOA website, “AΩA advocates for diversity in all its forms when identifying candidates for nomination – identity, cultural, geographic, experiential, race, ethnicity, gender, age, economic and social status, physical abilities, aptitude, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and other ideologies.”
In early 2022, the UNC chapter launched an Equity Task Force to critically review AOA’s processes, assess how AOA can best serve the goal of promoting equity in medical education, and evaluate the role of AOA within the School of Medicine.