Dr. Daniel Armstrong Receives American Cancer Society’s St. George National Award

For his longtime devotion to improving the lives of children with cancer and his work to advance science, health policy and education, F. Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D., a longtime researcher with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and professor and Executive Vice Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was recently honored with the American Cancer Society’s 2015 St. George National Award.

“This is an honor and humbling recognition,” said Armstrong, who also serves as Interim Senior Associate Dean for Medical Faculty Affairs, Associate Chief of Staff at Holtz Children’s Hospital, Director of the Mailman Center for Child Development and Co-Director of the University of Miami Sickle Cell Center. “I’ve been a volunteer with the ACS for over 15 years. I believe passionately in the Society’s mission and what it accomplishes.”

The award recognizes outstanding ACS volunteers who have demonstrated a willingness to serve in leadership roles and have significantly contributed to furthering the Society’s strategic goals and mission. Honorees will officially receive their awards on October 23 at the organization’s division board meeting in Tampa.

“Dr. Armstrong is the embodiment of what the St. George National Award stands for, and we are honored to bestow him with this accolade,” said Ralph DeVitto, Executive Vice President of the Florida Division of the American Cancer Society. “His commitment and dedication to the American Cancer Society are an inspiration to all in the community, and we feel fortunate to have him as a partner in our mission to save lives from cancer.”

Armstrong has been an active investigator at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami for 30 years. His work on neurocognitive outcomes of children treated for brain tumors and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, as well as those treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, is nationally and internationally recognized. He has collaborated closely with other psychologists, pediatric oncologists, radiation oncologists, and many other cancer specialists on more than 20 multi-center clinical trials during his nearly 15-year role as chair of the behavioral sciences committee for both the NCI-funded Pediatric Oncology Group and Children’s Oncology Group.

Armstrong’s work with the ACS dates backs to 1999. He has held several leadership roles and made important strides in advocating for health policy changes, fundraising and improving the quality of life for children and young adults with cancer. As a member and Chair of the Childhood Cancer Committee, he was instrumental in expanding opportunities for summer camps, weekend educational programs for families, and college tuition scholarships for children with cancer – a good portion of whom went on to become nurses, doctors and lawyers and later donated to the program.

In Armstrong’s role as President and Chair of the Society’s Florida Division Board of Directors, he led the Florida Division’s efforts as part of the national ACS’ “transformation” project to create one single organization from the organization’s state divisions. He also advocated for Florida legislation that added a $1 surcharge to cigarettes, resulting in a nearly $900 million revenue stream for the state. This initiative reduced smoking rates by 8 percent in adults, by 30 percent in high school students, and by 50 percent in middle school students.

As the Society’s representative and Chair of the Florida Biomedical Research Advisory Council (BRAC), Armstrong co-led the implementation of Florida’s Cancer Center of Excellence designation, which the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center received in April. He also led the development of the state’s strategic cancer research plan that guides grant funding to Florida cancer investigators through the Bankhead-Coley and James and Esther King research programs, and helped to successfully advocate for five years of state funding ($80 million each) to support NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center designation and growth for Sylvester, Shands Cancer Center, and the Moffitt Cancer Center.

“The ACS has given me great opportunities to run with, and this has translated to the chance to lead implementation of a solid plan to reduce mortality and health disparities in our state,” said Armstrong. “These are both core parts of our mission at Sylvester, so I was really grateful to be a part of this initiative that will help fulfill the mission of both organizations.”

Armstrong currently serves on the ACS Stakeholders Committee. He was the recipient of one of the Society’s national research grants, and in 2009 received the national Lane Adams Quality of Life Award.

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