Alpha Omega Alpha: The Honor Society in the Field of Medicine

Melissa W.

Keeping with our theme of honor societies for our ever-important medical students, today we’re featuring Alpha Omega Alpha: the honor society in the field of medicine.

Founded in 1902 by six medical students at the now-known University of Illinois College of Medicine, Alpha Omega Alpha is the national medical honor society and considered one of the most prestigious. While the organization leaves new membership acceptance up to each of their chapters/schools, most students fall within one-sixth of graduating medical students and go through an election process. Unlike other honor societies that accept new members solely based on GPA, AOA is one of the most competitive. Only the top medical students are accepted based on a criteria of grades, leadership in their programs, overall professionalism, and ethics. Students must show promise of becoming leaders in the field of medicine beyond graduation.

According to their website, AOA states their mission as: 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

They state, “Election to Alpha Omega Alpha is an honor signifying a lasting commitment to professionalism, leadership, scholarship, research, and community service. A lifelong honor, membership in the society confers recognition for a physician’s dedication to the profession and art of healing.”

Alpha Omega Alpha graduates wear a Kelly green, gold, and white honor cord on graduation day. The Kelly green symbolizes “medicine,” the white, “humanities,” and the gold, “science.” They allow any AOA member to wear one during a graduation ceremony. It’s quite an accomplishment to own one!

senior class graduation products tri color kelly green gold white honor cord

As a reminder, our team continues to operate with a modified business solution, complete with remote and isolated order processing locations. Our goal is to safely deliver honor recognition gear to schools and institutions to have ready for their students once graduation ceremony dates have been reworked. 

An early congratulations to The Class of 2020 medical students who are jumping right in to help the greater good! We know your graduation ceremony will be incredibly meaningful and come with immediate field experience many could not have predicted when you started your educational journey.

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