By Gerard J. Shorb, Johns Hopkins University
Part 7: The National Society Grows
It may be a coincidence, but since the re-activation of the Alpha Chapter in 1978, Delta Omega as a national society seems infused with a new spirit. Since 1978, the Society has gained eight new local chapters. These included the Mu Chapter at the University of South Carolina and the Xi Chapter at the University of Oklahoma in 1978. The Lambda Chapter at the University of Illinois joined in 1980 and the Omicron Chapter at the University of Pittsburgh in 1982. The Pi Chapter, at the University of Minnesota, the Rho Chapter at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the Sigma Chapter at San Diego State University, were all approved in 1985. In 1987 the Tau Chapter at the University of South Florida joined.
In 1978, Delta Omega established the National Merit Awards program. Through this program, the Society selected individuals from schools of public health and honored them for the excellence of their work. Annually, each school of public health sent in nominations for awards in three categories, student, faculty member and alumnus. One award went for each category at the national meeting, with a Delta Omega Awards Committee choosing the winners. Recently, the Society altered the format and it is now a Delta Omega Award Winning Essay contest.
In 1979, the National Society amended its by-laws to allow 10% of the graduating students of participating schools to be elected to membership, instead of five percent. These students must be in the top 25% in class standing and demonstrate leadership abilities in addition to academic excellence. The Society amended the constitution again in 1981 to stabilize the leadership structure of the Society by creating an office of president-elect and by allowing all officers to serve for longer periods of time.
Delta Omega published one more work in the "classics in public health" series. They re-issued Juan Carlos Finlay's publication entitled The Mosquito Hypothetically Considered as an Agent in the Transmission of Yellow Fever Poisoning in 1989. This brings the total to six classics that Delta Omega has re-issued nationally. In 1991, to mark the 75th anniversary of The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, the Alpha Chapter and Doctor Elizabeth Fee published the "Welch-Rose Report: A Public Health Classic."