The Storyteller: David Armstrong, DPM, MD, PhD

Dr. David Armstrong is Professor of Surgery at the University of Southern California. He holds a Masters of Science in Tissue Repair and Wound Healing from the University of Wales College of Medicine and a PhD from the University of Manchester College of Medicine, where he was appointed Visiting Professor of Medicine. He is founder and co-Director of the Southwestern Academic Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA) and has produced more than 520 peer-reviewed research papers in dozens of scholarly medical journals as well as over 90 books or book chapters. He is the co-Editor of the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Clinical Care of the Diabetic Foot, now in its third edition. Serving as the Deputy Director of Arizona’s Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation (ACABI), he is the co-founder of its “augmented human” initiative, which places him at the nexus of the merger of consumer electronics, wearables, and medical devices.

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Dr. David Armstrong

Dr. Armstrong was selected as one of the first six International Wound Care Ambassadors and is the recipient of numerous awards and degrees by universities and international medical organizations including the inaugural Georgetown Distinguished Award for Diabetic Limb Salvage. In 2008, he was the 25th and youngest-ever member elected into the Podiatric Medicine Hall of Fame. He was the first surgeon to be appointed University Distinguished Outreach Professor at the University of Arizona. He was the first podiatric surgeon to become a member of the Society of Vascular Surgery and the first US podiatric surgeon named fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Glasgow. He is the 2010 and youngest ever recipient of the ADA’s Roger Pecoraro Award, the highest award given in the field.

Dr. Armstrong is past Chair of Scientific Sessions for the ADA’s Foot Care Council, and a past member of the National Board of Directors of the American Diabetes Association as well as a former commissioner with the Illinois State Diabetes Commission. He sits on the Infectious Disease Society of America’s (IDSA) Diabetic Foot Infection Advisory Committee and is the US-appointed delegate to the International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot (IWGDF). Dr. Armstrong is the founder and co-chair of the International Diabetic Foot Conference (DF-Con), the largest annual international symposium on the diabetic foot in the world.

Dr. Armstrong’s Prescription for Success:

Number 1: Folks don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care: Show a sincere interest in the person in front of you, not just their problem..

Number 2: Don’t be a what I call a kiss up, kick down kind of person: Be the leader who knows the name of everyone that he or she sees when he or she is walking into work. Those interactions, those relationships are ultimately the most meaningful.

Number 3: Don’t procrastinate: Run your list and if you can get something done now, get it done now.

Number 4: Hard things are hard for a reason: Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. If given the choice between doing that thing that’s hard and clocking out for the day, do the thing that’s hard and you’ll grow because you did.

Number 5: The best gift you can give anyone, besides your love, is perspective: Periodically, step back and try to regard what you’re doing. No matter how great your work, if you regard what you’re doing, you’ll find little bits and pieces you can tweak.

Number 6: Be a collector of mentors and learn from them: Pay them respect by seeking their advice and guidance.

Connect with Dr. Armstrong:

Email: armstrong@usa.net

Website: diabeticfootonline.com

Faculty website: https://keck.usc.edu/faculty-search/david-g-armstrong/

Notable Quotes from Dr. Armstrong’s interview

The greatest gift you can give people is to make them feel better.

A lot of the work we do in tissue repair and wound healing and limb preservation is treating people that do not have the gift of pain. So a lot of times, our success is often measured in millimeters and over months and years, not just in that one patient visit.

Nothing ruins a good surgery, like follow up.

I think, ultimately, we’re not judged by how many manuscripts we’ve written, how many lectures we’ve given and how many countries? How many cylinders are in our car, how many dollars are in our bank account, or how much money we’ve gotten in grants. All that’s great, and it’s fun to keep score on that stuff. But ultimately, it’s a fleeting thing. I think we’re judged by our personal progeny, both your children and your professional progeny.

There’s plenty of feet to go around.

(On Fellowship) How’d you like to make one fifth the amount of money, but five times the difference?

My greatest mentor is my wife.

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