Medical students elected to join prestigious honor society

Mark Hammontree

Five medical students in their final year of clinical training in The University of Alabama School of Medicine have been elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society.

The society, founded in 1902, elects around 3,000 members a year, students as well as faculty, who exemplify a deep commitment to the medical profession, especially with regards to scholarship and leadership. The new members are Nicholas Deep of Birmingham, Ala.; Jonathan Black of Monroeville, Ala.; Jessica Grayson of Fayette, Ala.; Chris Ridgell of Andersonville, Tenn.; and Kevin Greer of Sylacauga, Ala.

The top 25 percent of a medical school class can be nominated for membership, while up to 16 percent can actually be elected. However, the prestige of the Alpha Omega Alpha is not lost on the new members. Ridgell, who received his undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University, said he was humbled by the news.

“My classmates are all very talented and diligent, which makes receiving this distinction truly an honor,” Ridgell said.

Medical students receive their first two years of instruction at the main campus of the School of Medicine in Birmingham. The College of Community Health Sciences at the the University provides about 70 third and fourth year students with their final two years of clinical training via rotations in family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, neurology, psychiatry and surgery.

“I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study medicine at The University of Alabama and participate in clinical rotations on the Tuscaloosa campus,” said Greer, who received an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University. “I feel that these experiences have provided a great foundation for residency training and the practice of medicine.”

Heather Taylor, the associate director of medical students affairs, said this society truly represents the best and brightest and emphasized how proud the University is of these students.

“We are so proud of these students. They really do represent the best of the best in our medical school,” Taylor said. “Election into Alpha Omega Alpha is truly a prestigious honor. It not only means you have excelled academically but that a group of your peers is recognizing your contributions to the school and your potential to be a leader in the field of medicine.”

The five students will join the ranks of members from the 120 chapters nationwide and become some of the more 150,000 who have been elected to Alpha Omega Alpha since its formation more than a hundred years ago.