Alpha Omega Alpha

aoa logo    " Worthy to serve the suffering"

Welcome to the Beta Tennessee Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society. The history of AOA dates back to 1902 when six medical students attending the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago in response to their concerns about the prevailing non-professional image of medical students sought the means to foster honesty and higher ideals of scholastic achievement. These pursuits came during a time when medical schools were located in storefronts, tenements and warehouses, and when a mere microscope or two, some moldy slides, and a lonely skeleton were the only instruments. A time when the medical curriculum itself consisted of a series of lectures, sometimes supplemented by demonstrations at one's beside or, if available, in the laboratory. The leading founder, William Webster Root, modeled the society after Phi Beta Kappa. Growth of AOA chapters paralleled that of American medical schools and today there are 124 active Chapters.

Our state of Tennessee boasts a total of four Chapters: Vanderbilt University (Alpha; 1923), the University of Tennessee HSC (Beta; 1941), Meharry Medical College (Gamma, 1957), and East Tennessee State University (Delta; 1985).

Eligibility

Individuals eligible to be elected to Alpha Omega Alpha (Article II. MEMBERSHIP AND AIMS Section 1) include:

  1. Medical students who have excelled academically and have shown promise of becoming leaders in the profession
  2. Physicians (residents or fellows, faculty, and alumni/alumnae ) who later have demonstrated such leadership
  3. Physicians or scientists who have attained distinction in any worthy line of endeavor and are not eligible for election by any other means. These individuals are elected by the Board of Directors as honorary members

Selection Process

Selection for membership is the same as it was in 1902. Students who are in the top quartile of the graduating class are considered for membership based on a consideration of the additional qualities of scholarship, leadership, fairness in dealing with colleagues, compassion, integrity and service to the school and community at large. The mission statement states that: "AOA is committed to being a rising voice for professionalism, to recognizing the importance of optimal patient care, and to emphasizing the need for continuing scholarship and academic achievements."

In concert with the selection criteria set forth by the AOA Constitution, up to one-sixth of the projected number of students graduating will be identified. The Councilor and the AOA Selection Committee will meet in confidence to select students for membership. A Chapter may elect up to half of that one-sixth of the students in the Spring of the third year, and the remainder at any time from the Fall of the fourth year until graduation. Here at the University of Tennessee HSC, the selection process takes place in early Spring (February) to select the third year students, and in early Fall (September) to select the fourth year students.

Once eligibility has been determined, the Office of Student Affairs will notify those students being considered for membership. These students will be asked to provide the Office with a copy of their curriculum vitae (see sample) outlining their achievements and demonstrated professionalism. Additionally, each will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire. This information will then be forwarded to the Committee for review. Following each selection process (Spring and Fall), all students being considered will be notified in writing as to the outcome of the selection process.

In addition, a Chapter may elect also elect Residents, Fellows and Facultyd according to the following:

(Article IV) Membership and General Considerations

Section 3: Resident and Fellow Memberships

  • Residents and fellows who were elected as medical students to the Society are automatically members of the chapter of the medical school sponsoring the educational programs in which they are enrolled. In addition, each chapter may nominate for membership in the Society each year residents or fellows who have completed a first year of residency or fellowship. Their election shall be based on continued academic achievement, leadership, professionalism, service, teaching, research and promise referred to in Article II and Article IV, with special emphasis on commitment and excellence in teaching of medical students. The numbers eligible to be nominated and elected will be related to the size of the medical school class and the number of students eligible to be nominated to membership in AOA in the school. The minimum will be three residents or fellows. The numbers related to size and the increment will be determined by the Executive Director periodically.

Section 4: Alumni/Alumnae and Faculty Memberships

  1. The provision for nomination by each chapter of alumni/alumnae members and faculty members each year provides a means of recognizing and honoring individuals who have distinguished themselves in their professional careers. Such election shall be based on continued achievement, leadership, professionalism, service, teaching, research and promise referred to in Article II and Article IV. Inasmuch as the number of individuals eligible for selection in these two categories is limited, chapters should evaluate carefully the professional and personal stature of nominees.
    1. Alumni/Alumnae: Graduates of medical schools in which a chapter exists, who were not elected as students, residents, or fellows, but who, after ten years or more following graduation are judged on the basis of academic and professional achievement, leadership, professionalism, service, teaching, research and promise referred to in Article II and Article IV to be qualified, may be nominated for membership in the chapter of the medical school from which they graduated.
    2. Faculty: Members of the sponsoring school's Faculty of Medicine who hold an earned doctoral degree (M.D., Ph.D., or equivalent) and have demonstrated continued academic and professional achievement, leadership, professionalism, service, teaching, research and promise referred to in Article II and Article IV, and a commitment to scholarly excellence and medical education may be nominated for membership in the chapter of that school.
  2. The numbers eligible to be nominated and elected in each category will be related to the size of the medical school class and the number of students eligible to be nominated to membership in AOA in the school. The minimum in each category will be two faculty and two alumni. The numbers related to size and the increment in these categories will be determined by the Executive Director periodically.

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Responsibilities of the Member

As with all true honors, the honor of AOA membership is accompanied by the responsibility to sustain the vision and goals of the society:

  • Professionalism - To hold the conviction that professionalism in medicine is a worthy goal.
  • Scholarship - To promote scholarship among medical professionals.
  • Leadership - To set an example worth emulating.
  • Service - To serve the medical profession and the community.

Membership Dues

The Society is organized for educational purposes exclusively and not for profit, and its aims shall be in the promotion of scholarship and research in medical schools, the encouragement of a high standard of character and conduct among medical students and graduates, and the recognition of high attainment in medical science, patient care, and related fields.

National Membership Dues

Members of Alpha Omega Alpha have both opportunities and responsibilities to the profession and to our society. The Society must help maintain excellence of scholarship in medicine and nurture high ethical principles in our profession. AOA is working to achieve these goals through providing increased support to our 124 chapters and several other activities. Your financial support enables us to underwrite medical student service projects, student research awards, a student essay competition, visiting professorships, and volunteer community faculty teaching awards. The Pharos, and the Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Awards, presented annually in conjunction with the Association of American Medical Colleges, emphasize the professional qualities and the importance of teaching and scholarship to all in our profession.

National membership dues are renewed each year or can be paid as a lifetime membership. For additional information regarding national AOA membership dues, please visit the Alpha Omega Alpha website.

Students nominated for election to AOA will register and pay dues for the first year online at http://www.alphaomegaalpha.org. This new process of dues payment directly to the national office ensures that standard set out by the AOA constitution which states: "Elected candidates may only be inducted into the Society after the membership fees to the national and the local chapter have been paid."

In the unlikely event that a nominated student does not wish to register and pay dues, the chapter will have the right to withdraw his/her name and select another student for membership in AOA from the eligible pool of applicants.

Chapter Membership Dues

Each AOA chapter is self-supporting and depends entirely on local Chapter membership dues to pay for honoraria and travel expenses for speakers, pins, certificates, and banquet meals for the student, alumni, faculty and housestaff initiates as well as for mailings, postage, the AOA Graduation Award, and administrative support.

Chapter membership dues are renewed each year in the spring at a level of $35.00 for members > 10 years post graduation, and $25.00 for members = 10 years post graduation.

As AOA is a non-profit organization, chapter dues as well as national dues and other contributions/donations are tax deductible.

Chapter Membership Transfer

Members of the Society may join the activities of the Chapter nearest to the location of their continued professional activity by contacting the Councilor of that Chapter. Members not residing near a Chapter may become affiliated with an Association or help in the founding of an Association (AOA Constitution:Section 7).

If you would like to transfer your current membership to the Beta Tennessee Chapter, please complete and return the following AOA Membership Information Card [113KB] along with your membership fees to:

Deborah D. Hester
Program Coordinator, Office of Student Affairs
910 Madison Avenue, Room 406
Memphis, Tennessee 38163

Chapter Contact Information

Contact for the Beta Tennessee Chapter is welcomed using your telephone and/or fax, by US mail, and by sending an Email to the following:

Owen P. Phillips, M.D.
Councilor, Beta Tennessee AOA Chapter
Associate Dean, Office of Student Affairs
930 Madison Avenue, Room 835D
Memphis, Tennessee 38163
Tel: (901) 448.5531 | Fax: (901) 448.7085
Email: ophillips@uthsc.edu

Deborah D. Hester
Program Coordinator, Office of Student Affairs
910 Madison Avenue, Room 406
Memphis, Tennessee 38163
Tel: (901) 448.5531 | Fax: (901) 448.7085
Email: dhester@uthsc.edu

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Contact Us

Office of Student Affairs

910 Madison Ave, #1043
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: (901) 448-5684
Fax: (901) 448-7085

Associate Dean

Owen P. Phillips, M.D.

Executive Dean:
David M. Stern, M.D.