Brenda E. Armstrong, MD, professor of pediatrics and associate dean, medical education and director of admissions, was recently inducted into the Hall of Heroes by the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) during the 2017 Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC) held in Atlanta, April 12-16.
The Hall of Heroes distinction is SNMA’s most prestigious recognition, honoring physicians, administrators, and others who champion the cause for a diverse physician workforce.
“The Hall of Heroes award from the Student National Medical Association, the country’s largest, oldest and most influential organization of students from minority and under-represented communities is an incomparable honor,” said Armstrong. “The focus on health disparities, on growing a cadre of brilliant physicians, researchers, and leaders to address the woeful status of minority health is a legacy for a lifetime’s work. I am humbled to be mentioned among those who continue to work toward equity in healthcare in this country and worldwide.”
Armstrong was a member of one of the first classes at Duke to include African-American students and the only African-American woman in her medical school class at St. Louis University for three of her four years there. She is distinguished as the second African-American woman in the United States to become a board-certified pediatric cardiologist.
Armstrong’s current research interests focus on gender- and race-based disparity in medical education. As the dean for medical school admissions, she is also interested in medical education and training for students, residents, and fellows, including quality improvement initiatives in medical education, quality delivery of health services, recruitment of women and minorities into the medical field, and community outreach. Notably, Armstrong is known for recruiting the most diverse classes in Duke Medical School history.
In addition to her nomination for the award, a named scholarship endowment “to support medical students who contribute to a fuller representation of perspectives within the academic life of Duke University” has been established to honor Armstrong’s dedication and legacy in the Duke School of Medicine.
The Hall of Heroes awards were presented during the SNMA president’s luncheon on Friday afternoon. During the ceremony, Armstrong was also presented with a specially commissioned painting entitled, “Repairing the Damage,” by one of her favorite artists, Leroy Campbell. A reception, hosted by Duke Chancellor for Health Affairs, A. Eugene Washington, MD, was held in her honor on Friday evening.