Alpha Omega Alpha

The Larner College of Medicine is honored to host an Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society chapter. This honor distinguishes students from their peers and is 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. AOA is composed of fourth-year medical students who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, research, professionalism, service to the school and community, and clinical acumen.

Alpha Omega Alpha values and is committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion based on evidence that inclusion of talented individuals from different backgrounds benefits patient care, population health, education, and scientific discovery. The Larner College of Medicine is equally committed to promoting inclusive excellence and the selection of diverse members to AOA. The LCOM AOA committee developed the above eligibility criteria, in collaboration with the Office of Medical Student Education and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) leadership to provide a fair and equitable process for our students.

We are very proud of the Class of 2022 and Class of 2021 AOA Inductees. In addition to our student inductees, the UVM AOA Chapter induct a faculty and housestaff (resident) nominee, and present a Volunteer Clinical Faculty Award each year. Individuals can view our most recent inductee cohorts and feel free to reach out to them with messages of congratulations; it is an incredible honor and achievement.

For more information, students can peruse the AOA quarterly Pharos journals from past years, on the AOA website (don't miss the 2011 issue, highlighting the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at The University of Vermont), or review the presentation for first and second year students, which the AOA faculty counselor presented in late-fall (posted under Additional Resources).

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Medical Student Education or the UVM chapter's faculty councilor.

Selection Process

In the past, eligibility for AOA induction was determined based on the combined number of honors in the Foundations and Clerkship levels of the curriculum. Students identified as eligible were then invited to submit their latest Curriculum Vitae and an application asking for students to list engagement in leadership, service, and research along with a personal statement.

In 2018, with the LCOM move to a pass-fail curriculum in the Foundations Level, the AOA Selection committee needed to update the selection process and voted to have Clerkship level honors grades determine AOA eligibility. LCOM clerkship grades are based on clinical evaluations which include six core competencies including professionalism, a final exam and a clinical skills exam.

The top quartile of the class was invited to apply for membership in mid-May, the year prior to their graduation, and up to one-sixth of the graduating class was selected from the pool of applicants for nomination and induction using the following criteria:

  • Academic performance during their medical education, specifically their academic performance in the clinical clerkship level.
  • Successful research/scholarly activities as documented by formal presentations at national meetings or by publications or other scholarly work.
  • Leadership in school activities and/or community service.
  • Professionalism and humanism.

In October of 2020, the AOA Board of Directors voted to increase the percent per class of students selected to AOA up to 20%. The adopted changes to the AOA society’s constitution were developed to support elections that are inclusive, diverse and equitable.

This year, due to the COVID19 pandemic, the LCOM Medical Curriculum Committee voted to eliminate honors as a designation for clerkships. In order to determine the top quartile of students eligible for AOA the following process will be implemented for the class of 2022 AOA selection:

Clerkship distinction

Points for each clerkship will be awarded by:

  1. Top 50% of the Likert scale (ranking a student 1-5 based on clinical work in clerkship)*
  2. Nomination from clerkship director for distinction in clerkship-nomination will identify medical students who demonstrate characteristics of excellent physicianship – trustworthiness, character, caring, knowledge, scholarship, proficiency in the doctor-patient relationship, leadership, compassion, empathy, altruism and service leadership.*

*Application eligibility determined based on grades available at the time of selection (usually in May)

We will use rolled up scores of total number of points in category 1 clerkship points and category 2 clerkship points in the student’s completed clerkships at the time of selection to generate a list of students in the top 25% and these students will be offered the opportunity to apply to AOA.

AOA Application

The AOA application asks AOA applicants to reflect on their medical school experiences in leadership, service and research. Applicants are asked to reflect on one experience in each category and write about how that experience serves to meet the tenants of AOA and what personal or professional development occurred as a result of the experience.

The selection committee did not support going back to using numerical grades, a cumulative GPA or USMLE scores to determine AOA eligibility. They deemed it in conflict with the goals and objectives of moving to a pass-fail basic science curriculum.

After a careful review of the applications, the LCOM AOA Selection Committee selects up to 20% of the class for AOA induction in late July/early August, and new members are informed early enough to include this information in their residency application.

Additional Resources:

sandoval profile photo

UVM Larner College of Medicine AOA Chapter Faculty Councilor
Marie B. Sandoval, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine

Alpha Omega Alpha Award

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Tenet

“It is the duty of members to foster the scientific and philosophical features of the medical profession, to look beyond self to the welfare of the profession and of the public, to cultivate social mindedness, as well as individualistic attitude toward responsibilities, to show respect for colleagues, especially for elders and teachers, to foster research and in all ways to ennoble the profession of medicine and advance it in public opinion. It is equally a duty to avoid that which is unworthy, including the commercial spirit and all practices injurious to the welfare of patients, the public, or the profession."