Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

Fellow in Leadership Award

Past Recipients:

2015 2015 2014

2016 Alpha Omega Alpha Fellow in Leadership Award

Download the announcement and checklist


Leadership in medicine, medical education, and health care is more complex in the twenty-first century than ever before. Escalating costs, unequal access, less than ideal outcomes, and political challenges facing health care legislation have contributed to an unprecedented level of uncertainty in the delivery of health care and medical education. The medical profession and the country are in need of leadership that is inspiring, insightful, engaging, and humble—leadership that both understands and represents the needs of patients, physicians, and medical educators and trainees. Because of their unique knowledge of the practice of medicine and understanding of medicine’s core professional values, physicians are ideally suited to serve as leaders in this period of change. The integral parts of the professional life of a physician are the values affirmed in the Medical Professionalism Charter that emphasizes the principles of patient welfare, patient autonomy, and social justice.

The AΩA Fellow in Leadership Award recognizes and supports the further development of outstanding leaders exemplifying the qualities of:

  • Leading from within—Leading oneself is about creating access to a broader range of ways of being, thinking, and acting to become more effective in dealing with the challenges for which the usual solutions are inadequate. Unlike most existing programs that teach leadership by imparting someone else’s knowledge (a third-person approach), this fellowship emphasizes creating leaders using a first-person “as-lived/lived-through” methodology. In working with Fellows to “unpack” their hidden beliefs and frames of reference, new contexts will emerge that give them more space and more degrees of freedom to lead effectively as their natural self-expression.
  • AΩA’s professional values, enumerated in the society’s motto—“Be Worthy to Serve the Suffering—and its mission statement:
    Alpha Omega Alpha—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
    • promoting service to others.
  • The concepts of servant leadership—Servant leadership is based on specific core values, ideals, and ethics, in much the way that the culture of medicine is shaped. Because medicine is at its core a profession that serves others, we believe that effective, sustainable, and excellent leadership should be based on core professional and personal values and the commitment to servant leadership, while recognizing the value of other leadership strategies and approaches.

The five essential components of the AΩA Fellow in Leadership Award are:

  1. Self-examination, the "inward journey," leading from within
  2. A structured curriculum focused on topics related to leadership, including an understanding of the relationship between leadership and management
  3. Mentors and mentoring
  4. Experiential learning to broaden the perspective and understanding of leadership as it relates to medicine and health care
  5. Team-based learning and developing communities of practice.


Mid-career physicians who provide outstanding leadership within organizations in medicine and health care, including schools of medicine, academic health centers, community hospitals, clinics, agencies, or organizations, with a high promise for future success and contribution are eligible to apply. AΩA is committed to attracting a diverse pool of applicants and projects. The applicants must be members of AΩA.

Medical schools whose nominee has won the Fellow in Leadership Award are not eligible to submit another nominee for three subsequent years.

Nominations must be made by the senior executive of the medical school, hospital, or health care organization.

Nominations must be submitted to the local AΩA Chapter councilor or to a Chapter Association chair. Only one nominee will be accepted by the AΩA National Office from the pool of candidates submitted to the chapter or association. Physicians not associated with an academic institution having an AΩA chapter or association must submit their applications to the nearest AΩA chapter or association. A list of chapters and associations with contact information is available here: Chapters | Associations

If an AΩA councilor wishes to apply for this award, the dean of the medical school must appoint another AΩA member of the chapter to manage the nomination process to avoid potential conflict of interest. The dean and councilor must notify the AΩA national office of the appointment.

A committee appointed by the AΩA Board of Directors will evaluate and rank the candidates as potential AΩA Leadership Fellows. Up to three awards may be given in a year.

The award

The recipients will receive a $25,000 award to be used for further development as future leaders, and recognition as an AΩA Fellow in Leadership. The award may not be used for salary support for either the fellow or institutional mentors. AΩA does not pay indirect costs. The award may be used for attendance at a leadership development course or resources related to the fellow’s project and other expenses related to leadership development approved by AΩA.

Submission requirements

Applicants must provide a detailed description of how they will use the award funds to further their pursuit of leadership development and accomplish the five components listed above. Applications must include the following:

  • The nomination letter must be from the senior executive in the medical school or organization. The senior executive is expected to serve as one of the two mentors for the candidate, and thus his or her role in mentoring should be noted in the nomination letter.
  • Select a leadership experience that will broaden the applicant’s perspective on leadership related to health care and medicine. This leadership experience will be augmented by the development of an action project for experiential leadership development that will be completed during the course of the year and presented at the annual AΩA Board of Directors meeting after the end of the fellowship year. This project will provide the applicant the opportunity to define a problem or need, identify barriers to addressing the problem, and design, implement, and complete a remedial plan or project. Sustainability of projects will be important in the evaluation process. Examples of such projects could be the following: addressing a current or near-term leadership challenge, developing a leadership curriculum for medical students at the home institution or local medical society; integrating leadership into everyday practice; leading a team in a clinic, hospital, organization, educational program, etc.; implementing and leading interventions and/or policy to positively address important challenges; and others that may be proposed. The project may be in the host institution or organized in another institution. Preference will be given to scalable projects with the potential for a broad impact on medicine, medical education, health care, or other important challenges.
  • Designate at least two mentors. Mentors will be required to assist the applicant in completing his or her project, serving as role models, offering advice as needed, and connecting with key individuals either within or external to the applicant’s organization. At least one mentor must be at the senior leadership level. This may be a Dean, Chief Executive Officer, or the President of an association or an organization that has a regional or national presence. Applicants are encouraged to choose mentors outside of their immediate organizations or work groups. This experience must be ongoing through and after the fellowship year. The mentors will ensure access of the Fellow to high-level administrators and leaders. The mentors in the Fellow’s organization will commit to the mentoring plan and to allocating time to support the Fellow’s ongoing leadership opportunities after completion of the fellowship.
  • The application must include a letter from the chief executive of the applicant’s institution that includes explicit commitment to:
    • Matching the fellowship dollars or the equivalent in mentor time. Exception may be requested—list reasons for requested exemption.
    • Protected time of at least 25% to complete the fellowship activities. Protected time must include the orientation and leadership course to be held July 11-15, 2016, and for AΩA meetings and teleconferences. The fellows and their institutions must commit to providing full coverage of fellows’ duties during this time, in addition to the ongoing protected time.
    • A specific list of tasks that will be transferred to other personnel.
  • A letter of recommendation from the applicant’s direct supervisor that comments on the applicant’s leadership qualities and potential. The letter must acknowledge the institution’s commitment to protected time and transfer of specific responsibilities to allow the applicant to complete the fellowship. Letters that indicate a clear career path leading to greater leadership responsibilities will be considered evidence of strong institutional commitment.

Requirements for awardees

  • The awardee will participate in a defined and structured curriculum focused on topics related to leadership in medicine. The leadership curriculum must be defined and described in the application.
    National leadership programs that may be of value to AΩA Fellows in Leadership, include:
    • Leadership Development Programs at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina
    • The Executive Development Seminar sponsored by the AAMC
    • The Development of the Chair as Academic Leader given by the American Council on Education
    • The Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program (ELAM®) at Drexel University College of Medicine
    • The leadership development program in health professions education sponsored by the Foundation for the Advancement of International Medical Education (FAIMER®)
    • The Harvard-Macy programs
    • Scholar in Residence Program at the Association of Academic Health Centers
    In addition, many institutions have structured leadership development programs.
  • Awardees will be required to attend a combined AΩA Fellows orientation meeting and the AΩA Leadership course The Science and Practice of Leading Yourself, which will be held at the AΩA national office in Menlo Park, California on July 11-15, 2016. Lodging and some meals will be covered by the national office. Travel expenses are the responsibility of the fellows.
  • Fellows will be expected to attend the AΩA Board of Directors annual meeting September 29-30, 2017 to present their projects and experiences, as well as to observe the board meeting. Lodging and meals will be covered by the AΩA national office. Travel expenses are the responsibility of the fellows.
  • All awardees will have required readings in Leadership and will participate in a bimonthly or more frequent teleconferences that will be facilitated by a senior leader and will focus on topics related to challenges in leadership or project-related concerns. During the award year, the awardees will be encouraged to create a community of practice with each other, as a vehicle to encourage peer-to-peer mentoring and sharing of experiences.

Application requirements

Application must be in the form of a PDF (12-point type, 1-inch margins), sent by e-mail to the closest chapter councilor or association chair, and must include:

  1. A completed checklist. (Download the announcement and checklist.)
  2. A nomination letter from the senior leader of the host organization such as dean, CEO, or equivalent (maximum 2 pages), detailing:
    • The nominator’s reasons for nominating the applicant.
    • The applicant’s personal and professional qualifications for the nomination, including specific examples emphasizing leadership.
    • The nominator's role in mentoring the applicant.
  3. A proposal from the applicant (maximum 6 pages) laying out the applicant’s plans to fulfill the five essential components of the fellowship:
    • Self-examination.
    • The structured curriculum focused on topics related to leadership, including an understanding of the relationship between leadership and management.
    • The mentor(s) qualifications to mentor the project and experience.
    • The leadership experience and the action project, detailing how the project will advance the applicant’s understanding of the principles of leadership and what leadership skills the project will enhance.
    • Team-based learning and developing communities of practice.
  4. A personal statement from the applicant (maximum 2 pages) that summarizes:
    • Prior leadership experiences, including specific personal examples (both successes and failures) and what lessons were learned.
    • The applicant’s goals for the fellowship.
    • The applicant’s leadership goals after the fellowship and longer term.
    • How the applicant envisions making a difference in the profession of medicine through leadership.
  5. The applicant’s biosketch (maximum 4 pages).
  6. A letter from each mentor (maximum 2 pages each) or a combined letter from both mentors outlining:
    • The structure and goals of the projected mentorship.
    • A commitment of time for mentoring and support for ongoing leadership opportunities after the fellowship is completed.
    • The mentor’s reasons for wishing to mentor the applicant.
    • The mentor’s assessment of the applicant’s leadership qualities, with specific examples.
  7. The mentors' biosketches (maximum 4 pages each).
  8. A letter from the chief executive of the institution detailing the institution’s commitment to the fellow (maximum 4 pages), including:
    • Protected time of at least 25% to complete the fellowship and for attending the orientation session and AΩA board meeting.
    • A list of the applicant’s responsibilities that will be transferred to other personnel. (Applications without this list will be returned.)
    • Salary support and matching funds or the equivalent in mentor time, or a request for exemption, detailing the reasons for the request.
  9. A letter from the applicant’s direct supervisor, commenting on the applicant’s qualifications for the fellowship, including leadership qualities and potential (maximum 2 pages). The letter must acknowledge the institution’s commitment to protected time and transfer of specific responsibilities to allow the applicant to complete the fellowship.

One application will be selected by the chapter councilor or association chair to be submitted to the AΩA national office. This application must further include:

  1. A recommendation letter from the chapter councilor or association chair.

Applications from chapters or associations must be sent to Dee Martinez ( by April 1, 2016.

Download the announcement and checklist


October 2015 Program announcement
March 1, 2016 Applications to AΩA chapter councilor
April 1, 2016 One application per chapter forwarded to the AΩA National Office
June 1, 2016 Announcement of awards
July 1, 2016 Program begins
July 11-15, 2016 Orientation week
September 29-30, 2017 Presentation at AΩA Board Meeting

Questions about this program should be sent to Dee Martinez at the AΩA National Office (

Updated on August 25, 2016.

© 2016 Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society