Dr Armstrong leaves a legacy with a wide range of achievements, among them an expansion in the Medical College offerings.
“Ever smiling, persistent and always committed to faculty development,” are among the words used by colleagues to describe Professor Robert ‘Bob’ Armstrong, founding dean of AKU’s Medical College in East Africa.
Dr Armstrong spent a decade at the helm of this premier medical training institution, and AKU is proud to honour Bob for his commendable work and humble nature.
He leaves a legacy with a wide range of achievements, among them an expansion in the Medical College offerings. As AKU Provost Carl Amrhein said, “Bob has brought on board a number of new programmes, the Population Health Programme, the Hematology Oncology Programme, the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health. These are investments that will define the Medical College for many years to come, and they are an example of Bob’s commitment to interdisciplinarity, to integrated health care.”
Dr Armstrong also laid solid ground for the introduction of new undergraduate medical training, packaged as Bachelor of Science degrees in radiological sciences, in Medical Laboratory Sciences, and in emergency medicine. He also finalized the blueprint for the Master of Medicine in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Thanks to his leadership, the residency programme that started with only seven residents in 2010 has now grown to 223 residents, with 84 women and 139 men participating. That he is very proud of this diversity was stated in Dr Armstrong’s farewell speech, “I think the most successful thing we have all done is select really good residents, send them away for fellowship and bring them back as junior faculty in the Medical College.”
The Medical College faculty has tripled in size since the beginning of Dr Armstrong’s term in 2010. Many doctors from AKU have attended fellowships across the country as a result of his facilitation, and returned with better credentials that improve patient care and build their capacity.
AKU President Firoz Rasul congratulated Bob for the growth the Medical College has experienced, saying “The school has expanded and taken on students and research faculty to become one of the most reputable graduate medical training institutions, [thanks] to his investments in people.”
This feat has also attracted 84 research grants, valued at USD 42 million, during his tenure. The founding dean’s resilience in pushing the need to accommodate more space for research projects paved the way for research output growing to 724 publications under his leadership.
Dr Armstrong has left an indelible mark as a man of high integrity and one who believes in helping people reach their potential. He is selfless and has sacrificed so much after working thousands of miles away from his family for the past 10 years. And for that and so much more, AKU expresses its deepest gratitude for the dedication to excellence and growth that he has upheld for the entirety of his decade-long term.
All of us at AKU wish Dr Armstrong the best in the next step of his journey.