Dr. Anna Armstrong awarded 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award

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Since 2008, students in the USF College of Public Health have annually recognized outstanding instruction at the Annual National Public Health Awards Ceremony. On April 3, graduate and undergraduate students joined forces to present the Excellence in Teaching Award to COPH alumna Dr. Anna Armstrong, assistant professor.

“Students who have nominated Dr. Armstrong think she is engaging and that she promotes student growth by celebrating their successes,” said COPH graduate student Juliana Azeredo. “She knows what it means to be an excellent teacher, friend, coworker and mother. She is a pillar of strength.”

Anna Torrens Armstrong, PhD, MPH, CPH, MCHES (Photo by Anna Mayor)

Armstrong received her BA in international studies, with a minor in political science and a concentration in communication and culture from the University of Tampa. She earned her MPH with a concentration in health education and promotion, and her PhD in public health at the USF COPH.

Joining the faculty at the USF COPH in 2015, her research interests include teaching innovation, school-based health services, developmental evaluation and design thinking, collective impact initiatives, military health promotion and resiliency.

“Dr. Armstrong is one of the best instructors I’ve had since my time here at the COPH. She is to the point and provides straightforward lectures that cultivate class discussion. She promotes student growth by celebrating student success,” said graduate student Emanuelle Dias. “She values our input in the structuring and delivery of the course and has continuously inspired me to keep going in my academic pursuit and to always me true to myself in my public health work.”

Graduate student Juliana Azeredo handing Dr. Anna Armstrong the 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award. (Photo by Anna Mayor)

She has held a variety of professional positions within the field of public health. She has worked as adjunct faculty at Davenport University. She has also served as the Director of Evaluation and Innovation for Building Healthy Futures (BHF), in Omaha, Nebraska, where she oversaw all evaluation efforts, communicating the organizational vision for evaluation into reality for external evaluators, program partners and stakeholders.

Her work with BHF began in 2013 as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health. Her work included guiding program evaluation projects, determining common measures, and serving as a liaison between the college and multiple community partners. Armstrong led organizational decision-making by bridging the gap between theory and practice and translating understanding across various professional silos to help build a collective, collaborative framework for increasing access to healthcare for underserved children.

Prior to her work with BHF, she served as the health promotions flight health educator under the 1st Special Operations Aerospace Medical Squadron at Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Florida. She also held various positions with the American Cancer Society, Florida Division including Director of Childhood Cancer Programs, Residential Night Manager of the Benjamin Mendick Hope Lodge and as an advocacy research assistant.

“I am humbled to receive this honor, especially given that it’s from the students who are really honestly the reason I am here. Without you I would not be a teacher,” Armstrong said. “We challenge each other, we dialog, we create and we recreate meanings to find our understanding. My goal in teaching is to make it possible for you to become yourself, a public health professional that will one day make a change in the world.”

Story by Caitlin Keough, USF College of Public Health