MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It’s a big weekend for the West Virginia University School of Medicine: Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Day will be starting at 4 p.m. on Friday in the Fukushima Auditorium at the WVU Health Sciences Center, and the 2012 John W. Traubert White Coat Ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Mountainlair Ballrooms.

It is the 50th Anniversary of the AOA West Virginia Alpha Chapter. AOA was organized by William Webster Root in 1902 at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago. The West Virginia chapter was established in 1962 as the 86th chapter with the motto “worthy to serve the suffering.”

“People should be aware of this society – that it’s not just to honor their academic performances, it is based on academics but also leadership and service. The students do really try to provide service in many different ways,” Melanie Fisher, M.D., chapter councillor, said.

The society’s mission is to promote scholarship and research, encourage a high standard of character and conduct, and recognize high achievement in medical science, practice and related fields. Eligibility includes academic rank in the top quartile of the class.

John Prescott, M.D., chief academic officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges and former dean of WVU School of Medicine, will be giving the AOA Annual Address.

Saturday’s White Coat Ceremony will make WVU’s future physicians aware of their responsibilities to care as well as to cure. The ceremony honors second-year students, timed at a crucial point in their training to help them reaffirm their reasons for choosing medicine as their life’s work. The event marks the transition where medical students move from books to bedside, using what they have learned about illness and disease to learning to diagnose and treat patients.

Every year, the ceremony is sponsored by the Alumni Association, with alumni sponsoring the students. When a student is awarded his or her white coat, a personal note is in the pocket from the sponsoring alumnus or a faculty member offering words of kindness and encouragement for the future.

“This is the alum’s personal gift of confidence and compassion to the student saying, ‘You can make it,’” Lynda Nine, vice president of alumni affairs, said.

This year, Joshua Dower, M.D., a 2004 graduate of the WVU School of Medicine, will be speaking at the event. Dr. Dower is a palliative care physician in the WVU Section of Internal Medicine and the director of “CUB Care,” WVU Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Supportive Care Team.

The ceremony is named for John W. Traubert, M.D., former associate dean for student and curricular affairs at WVU School of Medicine. He practiced family medicine in Wellsburg before joining the WVU faculty as founding chair of the Department of Family Practice, now the Department of Family Medicine. A reception will follow the ceremony.

For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087
rd: 03-22-12