Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

Fellow in Leadership Award

Past Recipients:

2016 2015 2014

2017 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 21st century than ever before. 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, 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 AΩA Fellow in Leadership Award recognizes and supports the development of outstanding mid-career physician leaders. Fellows spend one year honing their leadership skills and expanding their knowledge base in the areas of:

  • Leading from within—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.
  • Servant Leadership—Based on specific core values, ideals, and ethics, effective, sustainable, and excellent leadership is based on core professional and personal values and a commitment to servant leadership.

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; and
  5. Team-based learning and developing communities of practice.


Mid-career physicians who provide outstanding leadership within their organizations. Applicants must be active members of AΩA. Applicant’s mentors, and all AΩA members in the application packet who are AΩA members must have active status.

Nominations must be made by the senior executive of the physician’s organization.

Nominations must be submitted to the local AΩA Chapter Councilor or to a Chapter Association Chair if the applicant is affiliated with a medical school/medical center. If the applicant's organization has no affiliation with a local medical school (private/community hospital, or organization), the applicant may send their submission packet directly to the AΩA National Office (dee@alphaomegaalpha). Only one nominee will be accepted from a Chapter, private/community hospital, or organization. A list of AΩA Chapters and Associations with contact information is available online.

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

The award

Recipients will receive a $25,000 award to be used for further development of their leadership skills through a specific year-long project. 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 or 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. Applications must include:

  • A nomination letter 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/her role in mentoring should be noted in the nomination letter.
  • Description of a leadership experience/project that will broaden the applicant’s perspective on leadership related to health care and medicine. The project should have a scope that can be accomplished during the course of the year. The project should provide the applicant the opportunity to define a problem or need, identify barriers to addressing the problem, and design, implement, and complete an achievable plan. Sustainability of projects will be important in the evaluation process. Preference will be given to scalable projects with the potential for a broad impact on medicine, medical education, health care, or other important challenges.
  • Designation of at least two mentors who will assist the applicant in completing his/her project, serving as role models, offering advice as needed, and connecting the Fellow with key individuals either within or external to the organization.
    Applicants are encouraged to choose mentors outside of their immediate organizations or work groups. At least one mentor must be at the senior leadership level, however, at least one mentor must be at the senior leadership level of the applicant’s organization. This may be a dean, chief executive officer, or the president of an association/organization that has a regional or national presence. Mentorship must be ongoing throughout and after the year. Mentors should ensure the Fellow access to high-level administrators and leaders. Mentors should 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. Exception may be requested, however, a list of reasons for the requested exemption must be included.
    • Protected time of at least 25% for the applicant to complete the Fellowship activities. Protected time must include the orientation and leadership course to be held in July for bimonthly AΩA meetings and teleconferences, and time for the Fellow to meet with his/her AΩA mentor. The Fellows and their institutions must commit to providing full coverage of the Fellows’ duties during this time, in addition to the ongoing protected time.
    • A specific list of the applicant’s 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

  • Awardees will be required to attend a Fellows orientation meeting in July. Lodging and meals will be covered by the national office. Travel expenses are the responsibility of the Fellows, using funds from the award.
  • Fellows will be expected to attend the AΩA Board of Directors annual meeting in the fall to present their projects and experiences. Lodging and meals will be covered by the AΩA national office. Travel expenses are the responsibility of the Fellows, using funds from the award.
  • 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.
  • Awardees must participate in a defined and structured curriculum focused on topics related to leadership in medicine, such as AAMC Executive Development, the Harvard Macy program, ELAM® at Drexel Universtiy College of Medicine, and FAIMER®. The leadership description must be defined and described in the application.
  • 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.
  • Awardees will meet with their AΩA mentor on at least a bimonthly basis.

Application requirements

Application must be in the form of a PDF (12-point type, 1-inch margins), and must include:

  1. A completed checklist. (Download the checklist)
  2. A nomination letter from the senior leader of the organization such as dean, CEO, or equivalent (maximum two 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; and
    • The nominator's role in mentoring the applicant.
  3. A proposal from the applicant (maximum six 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;
    • Why they selected their mentor(s);
    • Their project proposal detailing how the project will advance the applicant’s understanding of the principles of leadership and what leadership skills the project will enhance; and
    • How they will develop team-based learning and communities of practice.
  4. A personal statement from the applicant (maximum two pages) that summarizes:
    • Prior leadership experiences, including specific personal examples (both successes and failures) and lessons were learned.
    • The applicant’s goals for the Fellowship.
    • The applicant’s leadership goals following the Fellowship and long-term.
    • How the applicant envisions making a difference in the profession of medicine through leadership.
  5. The applicant’s biosketch (maximum four pages).
  6. A letter from each mentor (maximum two 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 four pages each).
  8. A letter from the chief executive of the institution detailing the institution’s commitment to the fellow (maximum four pages), including:
    • Protected time of at least 25% to complete the Fellowship and ability of the applicant to attend 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, 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. The letter must acknowledge the institution’s commitment to protected time and transfer of specific responsibilities to allow the applicant to complete the Fellowship (maximum two pages).
  10. Recommendation letter from the Chapter Councilor or Association Chair, if applicable.

Applications must be sent to Dee Martinez by 11:59 PM, April 1, 2017, PST.


October 17 2016 Program announcement
April 1, 2017 Application deadline for receipt by the AΩA national office
June 1, 2017 Announcement of awards
July 1, 2017 Program begins

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

Updated on January 27, 2017.

© 2017 Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society