Member Engagement Points

Honor points, Honors Awards, and Distinguished Service Awards are all part of the Academy and Foundation’s system of recognizing members for volunteer activities. The honor point system is constructed to promote recognition not only for the quality of service, but also for the variety and longevity of service. Non-members receive honor points but are not eligible for Honors Awards or Distinguished Service Awards. However, points earned as a non-member convey once  a non-member becomes an AAO-HNS member.


Members receive honor points for participating in a variety of activities and leadership roles, including:

  • Academy and/or Foundation committee participation
  • Annual meeting course instructor, paper presenter, or poster presenter
  • BOG committee participation
  • BOG Spring Meeting attendee
  • CORE Study Section Grant Review
  • Exceptional service on a committee, upon recommendation by the Chair
  • Guideline Development Task Force participant
  • Officers and members of the Board of Directors
  • Journal Editorial Board & Associate Editors
  • Presidential appointed ad hoc task force members

The Honors Award is the first award a member can obtain for participation in activities that earn honor points. Each member can only earn one Honors Award in a lifetime.  To receive an Honors Award, a member must earn ten volunteer service honor points over a minimum of five years.  A maximum of two points, each from a different category of service, can be earned per year.

The method of calculating points for the Honors Award can be a bit confusing at first. Here are the basic rules:

  1. Ten honor points are required to earn the award
  2. No more than two points per year are credited to the award
  3. No more than one point per category, per year, can be credited to the award; therefore, to earn the maximum of two points per year, a member must participate in two different qualifying activities.
  4. It takes a minimum of five years to earn the Honors Award



The Distinguished Service Award is the recognition of volunteer service beyond the level of an Honors Award. Members, who attain fifty honor points, including the ten points received for an Honor Award, receive the Distinguished Service Award (DSA).

There is no limit on the number of Distinguished Service Awards a member may receive. All honor points, regardless of quantity earned in each category in a year, are credited toward the DSA. For example, if Dr. Doe teaches two instruction courses, two points are credited to the DSA. However, only one of these points can be applied to an Honors Award.



To help clarify honor point calculations below are two examples. The first illustrates honor points accumulated for the Honors Award and the second shows honor points earned going towards the Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Wright recently decided to become more active in the Academy. He presented two courses (#1529 and #2527) at the Annual Meeting, attended the Leadership forum, was a member of an education committee, and received an extra point by the Chair of the Medical Informatics committee. At first glance, you would think this member is well on his way to an Honor Award. Here’s how his points add up:

In the next example, Dr. Williams earned her Honors Award in 2012. Shortly thereafter, she left the world of academia and opened a solo practice in an under-served, rural area. She gave two annual meeting instruction courses in 1981 (#3515 and #4617) and completed two terms on the Environment Committee and International Otolaryngology Committee. Here is how her points add up:

The DSA is awarded after fifty honor points are accumulated.

AAO-HNS COVID-19 InformationLearn More