“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 confer recognition for a physician’s dedication to the profession and art of healing.”
Historically, eligibility was based on being in the top 25% of the class academically. Since transitioning to a P/F phase 1 curriculum, UF had relied solely on the 3rd year GPA to determine eligibility. However, based on input from a student task force (AOA and non-AOA members) on expanding AOA eligibility, we now also consider excellence based on peer evaluations, CLG leader recommendations, and CSE 3 performance when determining eligibility. In 2020, the national AOA organization increased the percent of students who can be eligible for AOA. The task force recommended maintaining a minimum GPA requirement of being in the top 50% of the class*. At UF, students in the top GPA quartile are automatically eligible and students in the 2nd GPA quartile are eligible if they are in the top 20% of peer evaluations, are a top performer on the final CSE 3C exam, or are recommended by their CLG leader (who is allowed to recommended up to 2 students). Once determined, eligible students are reviewed by the Dean of Student Affairs and/or Dean of Medical Education to insure there are no professionalism concerns as this would disqualify a student from consideration.
The Alpha Omega Alpha constitution prohibits self-nomination. For UF students, this means any request to CLG leaders to nominate you is not allowed and may result in your being excluded from eligibility.
Eligible students are notified and invited to submit information about their service to the school, local community, and broader organizations; leadership roles- local, regional, and national; evidence of excellence in research, program development, awards; and professionalism. Information provided by eligible students is summarized for each student and particularly noteworthy achievements are highlighted. Examples of highlighted activities include national leadership role, local leadership with major time commitment, 70+ hours of service to a single organization, major awards (e.g. Gold Humanism, NIH T35 grant), invitation to serve on important school committees (e.g. Academic Status Committee), peer-review publications, and national presentations.
The AOA Selection Committee was formed in 2012. Any AOA faculty or resident member can apply to serve on the committee. The Dean is an ex officio member. Up to 20% of the graduating class may be elected to AOA per the national AOA constitution. At the selection meeting eligible students are presented de-identified in tiers based on the depth and breadth of accomplishments they provided to the committee. The top tier of applicants typically submit numerous accomplishments in at least 3 of the major categories and within each category at least one is noteworthy enough to be highlighted. Discussion of applicants is limited solely to clarifying the nature of the accomplishments. Though applicants’ names are removed from all presented materials, the nature of some accomplishments makes it impossible to completely de-identify some applicants. Committee members are not permitted to speak up on behalf of individual students as this would give students who know or have worked with committee members an unfair advantage. Members are also asked to disclose any potential conflicts related to eligible students. Members are selected based on a vote of the AOA members in attendance at the selection committee meeting.
*Class ranking is determined as soon as the final grades have been submitted (typically 5 weeks after the final clerkship). Students who are off-cycle and only missing one clerkship grade, will be considered for eligibility but students missing more than one clerkship grade at the time of the class ranking, will not be eligible.