MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University School of Medicine students do more than just learn about how to care for patients. They are putting their learning into action with community service projects around the area. The West Virginia Alpha Chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society has worked with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Sundale Nursing Home, and Gabriel’s project, which helps families and single mothers in West Virginia meet the tangible needs of a new baby. Members also tutor younger medical students in practicing for upcoming clinical exams.
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“This past year, School of Medicine Alpha Omega Alpha members worked with Habitat staff on hanging siding, picking up donations, and doing landscaping for future Habitat home recipients,” Kelly Pennington, fourth-year medical student and Alpha Chapter president, said. “We helped spread holiday cheer at Sundale Nursing Home by decorating and hosting a game night, and we sold School of Medicine fleece jackets to support Gabriel’s Project.”

Alpha Omega Alpha is the only national medical school honor society and was organized by William W. Root, M.D., and five other medical students in 1902 at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago. Eligibility requires academic rank in the top quartile of the class. Only one-sixth of a class may be elected to membership, with a maximum of one-half of this number elected in the third year of medical school.

The WVU School of Medicine supports the West Virginia Alpha chapter, which was founded in 1962 as the 86th Alpha Omega Alpha chapter. It was organized to promote scholarship and research in medical schools; encourage a high standard of character and conduct among medical students and graduates; and recognize high attainment in medical science, practice, and related fields.

On Friday, March 28, the West Virginia Alpha Chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society inducted 16 students and several residents, faculty, and alumni.

This year’s inductees are: Class of 2014 – Sarah Bonnet, Ashley Boustany, Zachary Garrett, Ali Hajiran, Michael Miller, Allison Smith, and Katherine Sterner. Class of 2015 – Benjamin Biddix, Mackenzie Clarkson, Brendan Cline, Brian Grisez, Robert Hull, Patrick Kennedy, Nathaniel Lempert, Sarah Radis, and Kyle Stinehart. Residents – Lisa Costello, M.D., M.P.H., and Brian Kellermeyer, M.D. Faculty – Heather Tarantino, M.D. Alumnus – Jennifer Knight, M.D.

“The students selected to serve in WVU’s Alpha Omega Alpha chapter are at the top of their class academically and are committed to being “worthy to serve the suffering” now and as future physicians,” Melanie Fisher, M.D., assistant dean for continuing medical education, professor of medicine, and Alpha chapter advisor, said. “Our members reach out to include many other students, faculty members, and staff in organizing and conducting all of their activities.”

Photo Caption: Students in the WVU School of Medicine’s Classes of 2014 and 2015 were inducted into the West Virginia Alpha Chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society on Friday, March 28 at the WVU Health Sciences Center.

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