Jun 13, 2017
The road to a career in the health professions is long and difficult. Now Florida Southern students pursuing medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine have a national honor society to help them.
This spring, a chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the national health pre-professional honor society, was installed at FSC. AED encourages and recognizes excellence in scholarship, and provides opportunities for students to network with each other, gain valuable information about the health professions, and serve the community.
Student organizations at FSC related to the health professions go back more than twenty years. The long-standing campus pre-professional society transitioned into a chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) in 2012. AMSA is a national organization focused on physicians in training. In the spring of 2016, FSC AMSA members voted to apply for AED membership and spent all last year working on the transition.
“AMSA decided to pursue switching to AED because we felt the honorary status lifted us, as an organization, to a better standard,” said Aryianna Woody ‘17, president of AMSA for the 2016-17 academic year.
“We also felt that, since AED includes multiple health professions, it was a more approachable and inclusive organization than AMSA,” explained Woody, a pre-veterinary student. “AMSA membership had a myriad of professions in it already so we felt it necessary to make the switch to communicate this to those wanting to join.”
The FSC AMSA chapter had over 90 student members last year, and the incoming class for fall 2016 had approximately 200 students who declared an interest in the health professions. AED will provide substantial support for this large population of students.
Launching a local AED chapter involved an extensive application process. The officers of AMSA put together information about FSC, crafted a constitution and bylaws, and obtained letters of support from FSC administrators. The application was accepted by the national AED office, and the Florida Iota chapter of AED was established.
On April 8th, an installation ceremony was held in the Eleanor Searle Drawing Room. Dr. Phil Hartman, Professor of Biology and Dean of the College of Science & Engineering at Texas Christian University, traveled to FSC for the installation.
“AED has been a great part of the pre-health program at Texas Christian University,” Dr. Hartman said. During the installation, he provided helpful information on holding events, setting up programs for students to shadow professionals, and serving the greater community.
AED was established in 1926 and is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies. Currently there are over 180 chapters across the country. Membership is based on strict GPA requirements in science and math courses. The organization is open to any student interested in the pre-health professions, including but not limited to medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, veterinary medicine and clinical psychology. The national organization holds a biennial convention, offers scholarships for members, and publishes a journal, The Scalpel, to which members can contribute.
“All in all I think students, especially in the pre-health sciences, will benefit from having an organization to connect them to professionals and schools,” said Woody. “It also offers a place to meet like-minded individuals with similar career paths and to help establish a lively sense of friendship and bonds that we look for in life at college.”