Director of Communications
School of Public Health
GSU School of Public Health Professor Receives International Teaching Honor
ASPPH Early-Career Award Honors Outstanding Teaching, Mentoring
Elizabeth Armstrong-Mensah, Clinical Associate Professor in the Georgia State University School of Public Health, has been honored with the 2023 ASPPH Early Career Teaching Excellence Award. The honor is given to one faculty member each year from among the 138 member institutions in the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.
“The ASPPH Early Career Teaching Excellence Award recognizes faculty for outstanding teaching and mentoring of students in public health research, teaching and practice, and Dr. Armstrong-Mensah excels in all three of these areas,” said Shannon Self-Brown, chair of the Department of Health Policy and Behavioral Sciences at the GSU School of Public Health.
Armstrong-Mensah joined the School of Public Health in 2017 and strives to create personal connections with each of her students. She founded the school’s Undergraduate and Graduate Research and Publications Club, is the lead faculty member for the school’s Ghana study abroad program and founded the school’s “Meet and Talk” (MeTa) networking series.
“My passion for teaching and mentoring is rooted in the fact that I want every student I teach or mentor to excel,” Armstrong-Mensah said. “When I was a student in college, I benefited immensely from faculty who were passionate about the courses they taught. Their approach helped me excel in my studies. When I became a faculty member, I remembered how I had been taught and decided to pay it forward.”
Through the Undergraduate and Graduate Research and Publications Club, Armstrong-Mensah works with students to develop research that addresses a range of public health challenges. To date, more than 100 students have participated in the club, with more than 50 students publishing peer-reviewed research publications that advance knowledge as part of their club engagement experience.
Her student-focused teaching engages all types of learners, and she mentors Honors College students, serves on MPH thesis committees, guest lectures for other classes and institutions, and has served as an advisor for students participating in research competitions.
“Dr. Armstrong-Mensah employs such a wide range of educational methods to ensure student comprehension and specifically adapts these techniques to match the material she teaches,” noted recent Honors College graduate Jake Coldiron. “In totality, these opportunities allow students to truly live and perform public health in a uniquely supportive and creative environment.”
Through the school’s study abroad program in Ghana, undergraduate and graduate students learn first-hand about sanitation, HIV and women’s health in a developing nation. When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted travel, Armstrong-Mensah transitioned the program to an online synchronous format that enabled her students to learn from program partners such as hospitals, universities and state water and sanitation agencies.
“To this day, I zealously continue to learn how to adapt to changes and develop and learn skills pertinent to public health because of the extraordinary leadership skills that Dr. Elizabeth Afibah Armstrong-Mensah manifested in the virtual study abroad to Ghana,” noted MPH student Angelique Willis.
To enhance networking and professional development for students, Armstrong-Mensah founded the SPH’s “Meet and Talk” (MeTa) Series, which has been held each fall and spring since 2018. Organized in collaboration with a team of students and faculty, MeTa Series events bring students, faculty, alumni and other members of Atlanta’s public health community for networking and breakout sessions focused on academic and career development. The in-person MeTa Series 10 is scheduled for March 9 will include networking with public health leaders, breakout sessions, activities, raffles and prizes.
“Dr. Armstrong-Mensah is dedicated to ensuring that students have learning experiences—both inside the classroom and out—that prepare them to make a difference in the health of communities,” said School of Public Health Dean Rodney Lyn. “She exemplifies the outstanding instruction, mentoring and engagement that the School of Public Health is known for, and I am thrilled that she has been recognized with this significant honor.”
Story by Sam Fahmy; Photo by Jordyn Irons