JABSOM Wins Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Professionalism Award

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JABSOM is making waves nationally as the 2023-24 Alpha Omega Alpha Professionalism Award winner. The national medical honor society chooses one winner annually for its best practices in the education and practice of medical professionalism.

JABSOM Professionalism philosophy centers around "pono," the Hawaiian word for 'proper' or 'righteous.' It guides JABSOM's work to ensure its students, faculty, and staff understand the responsibility to act with integrity while taking action to eliminate health disparities in the spirit of social justice.

In addition to its philosophy, three other elements make up JABSOM's approach to professionalism.  There is a Shout Out form, which highlights outstanding professionalism in peers.We have a Professionalism Concern form where faculty, staff, and learners can anonymously contact JABSOM's Ombudsman. Finally, the JABSOM Professionalism Advisory Committee (JPAC) meets twice a year to review professionalism trends and provide suggestions  on how to promote growth in professionalism further. 

Dee-Ann Carpenter, MD, from JABSOM's Professionalism Advisory Committee, says what sets our medical school apart from others is that we embrace professionalism with aloha.

"One of the things we do in promoting professionalism is by looking at this from a positive standpoint rather than a punitive one," Carpenter said. "It's the compassion; it's the empathy; it's the advocacy, the care and the self-care. It's certainly the care of our patients and the whole reason why we become physicians in the first place. This is our philosophy, and within that is the word' aloha.' That's unique to us."

Brayden Wacker, JABSOM’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Administrative Officer, played a pivotal role in illustrating how professionalism is woven through JABSOM. He used diagrams and flowcharts that show the different professionalism offerings in the different units at the medical school.

“To be a small part of telling JABSOM’s story and to be part of the impact that these students will make when they go out into the communities and hospitals is awesome,” Wacker said.

The Alpha Omega Alpha Professionalism Award comes with a $10,000 prize. Dr. Carpenter says the money will be under JABSOM's Office of Medical Education, and discussions are happening to see how best to use the award to promote further growth.

"There are already wonderful things that the faculty are already putting together. We need to build on this and help our faculty to continue to be great role models for our students. Professionalism is an important part of being in medicine."

Past Alpha Omega Alpha Professionalism Award winners include the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine, and Baylor College of Medicine. One of the criteria for the award is showing evidence of sustainability of the professional practices while being exportable to other medical institutions. 

JABSOM is dedicated to cultivating professionalism throughout the medical education continuum to better equip learners with the necessary values and tools to ensure the highest level of patient and team safety in their future professional endeavors. The hope is that JABSOM can be a professional model for other schools in the United States. 

We are so honored to have been chosen for this AOA Professionalism Award. Here is our JABSOM Professionalism philosophy: 

As a member of the John A. Burns School of Medicine community, I uphold the highest standards of professional behavior. As such, I will treat myself and others with respect, aloha and compassion, execute my duties with skill and accountability, act altruistically, embrace social responsibility, conduct myself with integrity and humility, and pursue excellence in all that I do.