Gold humanism honor society election and academic outcomes: A 10-institution study

Steven Specter, Marc J. Kahn, Cathy Lazarus, Michael Prislin, Jeffrey G. Wong, Joseph O’Donnell, Wayne T. McCormack, Michael G. Kavan, Ana María López, Alice House

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: This study examines relationships among election to the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) and election to Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA), class rank, and residency selection to determine if GHHS members are more likely to select primary care residencies than students not elected to GHHS membership. METHODS: We evaluated five graduating classes (2006-2010) at 10 medical schools (n=5,481 students). Residency selections were grouped into primary care (family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB-GYN), surgery (including surgical specialties), or E-ROAD and other (including lifestyle practices-emergency medicine, radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, and dermatology plus all other specialties, eg, neurology, pathology). RESULTS: A higher proportion of GHHS members were attracted to primary care compared to non-GHHS members (54.3% versus 44.5%). Additional comparisons between GHHS and non-GHHS members demonstrated that 33.1% of GHHS members matched into E-ROAD and other residencies, while 40.9% of non-GHHS went into one of these specialties. Fewer GHHS members chose general surgery or a surgical sub-specialty (12.6% versus 14.6%). More GHHS members were elected into AOA (30.3% versus 14.0%). Further, a far greater proportion of dual AOA/GHHS members elect family medicine residency versus AOA members not elected to GHHS. In addition, GHHS members had slightly higher mean scores on USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) and mean class rank. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that students elected into the GHHS as an aggregate group tend to be academically higher achieving when compared to their non-GHHS peers and gravitate to a higher degree toward primary care and specifically to family medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-775
Number of pages6
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Family Practice


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