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Moving On

School of Public Health Dean Philip Nasca will be stepping down in January, and Laura Schweitzer, vice president for health sciences and biomedical initiatives, will serve as interim dean. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 14, 2016) — Philip Nasca will be stepping down as dean of the School of Public Health (SPH) effective Jan. 1, 2017, Interim Provost Darrell W. Wheeler announced Thursday.

Nasca, who has been dean of SPH since 2007, will remain at the University, serving as special assistant to the president on Global Health Initiatives through the fall of 2017. Following a sabbatical, he will return to his role as a faculty member in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Nasca’s academic focus is on cancers that affect women and children.

“It has been my pleasure and extreme honor to serve as dean of the University at Albany School of Public Health for the past nine years and to have had the opportunity to work with such an outstanding faculty and staff,” Nasca said.

Wheeler announced that Laura Schweitzer, the vice president for health sciences and biomedical initiatives, will take on the added role of interim dean of SPH in January.

“I am excited to work with the faculty and staff at our School of Public Health, and to carry on Dean Nasca’s great work and leadership,” Schweitzer said. “The School of Public Health will continue to serve as the anchor of our efforts to elevate the University’s health sciences programs, which is an integral component of the University’s largest academic expansion in more than 50 years.”

In his announcement, Wheeler noted some of the accomplishments at SPH under Nasca’s leadership, including securing $2 million for facilities renovations and opening the Global Health Center, which has ties in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

“Under Phil’s leadership, graduate enrollment grew 14 percent,” Wheeler said. “In addition, the school revitalized its certificate in Public Health Preparedness, launched an online MPH program, opened a new undergraduate program in High-Level Bioinstrumentation, expanded scholarly collaborations and increased public engagement."

Schweitzer joined the University as vice president for Health Sciences and Biomedical Initiatives in 2015, charged with leading the development of a plan to expand and align the University’s health sciences programs.

A neurobiologist by training, Schweitzer was president of Union Graduate College for six years before joining UAlbany. She has also served as vice president for academic affairs at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and chief academic officer at Bassett Healthcare. She held a succession of administrative roles at the University of Louisville and became the first female Ph.D. to lead a U.S. medical school.

“The University is very fortunate to have in Dr. Schweitzer an interim dean who understands the significance of the School of Public Health in the generation of research, teaching and practice, and who is well respected for her leadership on a broad array of health topics,” Wheeler said. “I am confident Dr. Schweitzer will be able to assist the school in filling an important role as we engage in a national search for a permanent dean.”

Schweitzer’s interest and experience in public health began in the 1980s as part of the research faculty at Duke University, working with the toxicology/population health staff at the Environmental Protection Agency’s campus at Research Triangle Park.

While at the University of Louisville, she worked on the development the School of Public Health and Information Sciences, recruiting and appointing faculty, writing the governance and bylaws of the school and chairing the search for a founding dean.

At SUNY Upstate, Schweitzer worked with Syracuse University to develop the joint Master’s of Public Health Program. She also served as interim dean of medicine and dean of Allied Health Sciences.

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