FAQs about AOA

This AΩA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page is updated when new information is available. The information on this page is made available to all students equitably. To ensure fairness, the details of the selection process or criteria are not provided to any individual student or group of students at any time by any faculty, student or administrative staff members.  All questions regarding AΩA should be addressed to the faculty members listed in item number 4 below.  No other faculty, student or staff member may provide information other than what is listed in the FAQs page.

1. Who is considered for induction into AΩA?

In August, the Dean's office determines the students eligible for consideration based on academic achievements and adherence to standards of ethical and professional behavior.  Deferment of graduation that has approval by the Dean’s Office and where the student continues to meet the school’s  standards of ethical and professional behavior does not impact election eligibility.  The assignment of a student’s graduating class is determined by the Dean’s office.  Each student is evaluated by the selection committee once during medical school.  The number of students selected for induction each year is determined by the guidelines set out by the honor society and is based on the total class size. 

Once the Dean’s office has determined the students eligible for consideration, the students are informed by email. If the student consents to participate, an on-line submission form created by the GW’s Web Services is completed by the student.  Scholastic achievement during medical school is not the sole basis for selection.  A holistic approach is applied. Items including but not limited to commitment to leadership, fairness in dealing with colleagues, demonstrated professionalism and service to both the school and community are taken into consideration. GW Alpha Chapter members on the faculty volunteer to participate in the selection committee; previously-elected medical students may participate in the reviews of de-identified information. Each student under consideration is presented at the selection meeting without reference to name or other personal identifiers. 

All students under consideration are informed by email of the results of the selection process by the faculty AΩA officers, after the committee meets.  Typically the selection committee elects the maximum total allowed by class size in the Fall.  Once that occurs, the election process is complete for that academic year.  For the majority of students, the confirmation occurs prior to the ERAS deadlines.  On occasion the committee may reserve one or more spots from the maximum allowed by class size and reconsider election for one or more students prior to graduation from among the pool of students initially considered in the Fall, but not selected.  Whether or not the committee has selected the maximum allowance for the year is shared with all students who had been under consideration, once the Fall reviews are complete.

Once the process of selection is complete, the chapter shares the information of the election results with the national organization and a registration process is initiated. The student’s Dean’s letter is also then updated for ERAS. The Dean’s letter will serve as the confirmation required until the registration is complete.  Unless you have received confirmation of your selection for induction and you have been provided the necessary registration forms, we strongly recommended avoiding mention of being considered for AΩA within your CV or ERAS application.  Miscommunication between the student and the program may occur if the CV preempts the committee decision.  Lacking the notification in the Dean’s letter, one or more residency programs may check but fail to confirm the election at the national registry. Avoid the opportunity for miscommunication with the programs. Follow the guidance provided.

2. What should I do to be considered for AΩA?

Nothing additional is required! Your academic performance will bring you to the attention of the selection committee. Scholastic achievement is balanced with a holistic review of the potential candidates; the committee looks beyond grades and test scores. Leadership, humanism, scholarly endeavors outside the classroom and professionalism contribute in the evaluation of the candidates.

The annual selection of medical students, housestaff and faculty inductees to the GW Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AΩA) will balance academic merits and personal attributes that contribute to a commitment to diversity and excellence in fields of scholarship, professionalism, leadership and altruism. The AΩA advocates for diversity in all of its forms – identity, cultural, geographic, experiential, race, ethnicity, gender, age, economic and social status, physical abilities, aptitude, and religious beliefs, political beliefs, and other ideologies.

Selection shall support the society’s aims and promote scholarship and research in medical schools, encourage a high standard of character and professionalism, and recognize achievement and service in the medical sciences, patient care, and related fields. AΩA is dedicated to the belief that in the profession of medicine we will improve care for all by:

  • recognizing high educational achievement
  • supporting the ideals of humanism
  • promoting service to others
  • honoring gifted teaching
  • encouraging the development of leaders in academia and the community

No candidate shall be denied election because of age, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy status, gender, identity or expression, sexual orientation, language, physical or mental disability, marital, civil union or domestic partnership status, veteran status, socioeconomic status, religious or political beliefs, or any other characteristic protected by the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action laws of a state, province, territory, or nation. Criteria is applied equitably, across the entire pool of potential candidates.

3. What might affect my selection?

Students in good standing with the GW SMHS will be considered for selection.

An approved leave of absence does not affect a consideration for selection.

A deferment of graduation when approved by the Dean's office will not affect the consideration of selection.

Grades from completed clinical clerkships in the third year will be considered by the committee. Choosing to defer one of the core-clinical clerkships could affect your standing at time of selection. In fairness to all students, a deferred core-clerkship completed in the fourth year will not be considered at time of selection.

Instances of academic probation and/or serious conduct or comportment issues will be addressed on a case by case basis with the Dean's office and faculty AΩA officers.

Students who transfer into GW after having taken part of their medical school education elsewhere will be eligible for nomination after being in attendance for one academic year.

4. Who can provide information about the chapter or the selection process?

Students will be registered with the national organization. Questions not addressed by this FAQs sheet may be referred to the following individuals:

  • GW AΩA Alpha Chapter Leadership:  Alan Wasserman, MD and  Angelike Liappis, MD.
  • Senior Associate Dean for Diversity & Faculty Affairs: Yolanda Haywood, M.D.

Students with questions will be referred only to the faculty listed above by the Dean’s office staff and other faculty members. Be aware that advice or information gained through unapproved sources may not be accurate. Do not approach Dean’s office staff or other faculty members and ask them to provide details about meetings, criteria or other specific information about the process. Attempts by one or more students to unfairly gain information, outside the approved sources or by other mechanisms, is not considered favorably by the committee. New information is updated on this page regularly and is made available for the equitable benefit of all students.