Azza Hussein Ahmed immigrated to the United States from Egypt in 1998, joining her husband at Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.) as a visiting scholar. Her colleagues at Purdue introduced her to the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), and she was eager to join. Inducted by the Delta Omicron Chapter at Purdue University School of Nursing, Ahmed has found her membership in STTI to be both a great honor and a terrific value.
“STTI membership [has] helped me tremendously throughout my career through the resources they provide, books and journal publications, attending and presenting at conferences, volunteering in our local Delta Omicron Chapter, and as an abstract and grant reviewer and Virginia Henderson reviewer,” she says. “I love to attend the conferences because they are very rich in knowledge and I meet more international colleagues from all over the world.”
Ahmed’s current role at Purdue is an associate professor. At the undergraduate level, she teaches pediatric nursing and another course titled “Child and Family Health” for non-nursing students. She also provides instruction in sociocultural nursing and physical assessment on the graduate level. She keeps busy supervising and mentoring master’s, DNP, and PhD students. She also served as Delta Omicron Chapter’s faculty advisor for three years.
Since she was an undergraduate student in Egypt, Ahmed was interested in learning about breastfeeding. Her master thesis focused on knowledge and attitudes of secondary school students (in Egypt) about breastfeeding. Her research continued in her doctoral program, in which she developed an educational program for mothers of preterm infants. While her work originated in her home country of Egypt, she has continued her research in the U.S. for the last 16 years. She also volunteers as a lactation consultant to support breast-feeding mothers.
To recognize Ahmed’s work promoting breastfeeding among vulnerable populations, STTI bestowed upon her the Audrey Hepburn Award for Contributions to the Health and Welfare of Children. She received this accolade at STTI’s 43rd Biennial Convention in Las Vegas, Nev.
“When I was notified that I received the award, I was very happy and excited, but I did not realize how prestigious it is until I went to Las Vegas and attended the award ceremony,” says Ahmed. “Receiving this award strengthens my passion and enthusiasm to continue working in my research to improve children’s health through promoting breastfeeding and helping mothers overcome barriers to successful breastfeeding.”
“I would love to establish new STTI chapters in my country of origin, Egypt, and see more of my Egyptian colleagues become members in STTI,” Ahmed says. “STTI is a prestigious organization that is dear and near to my heart!”