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March 21, 2008

Nancy Persily, SPH Associate Dean, Remembered

Nancy Persily

Nancy Persily

Nancy Persily, 64, associate dean for Academic Affairs at UAlbany’s School of Public Health from 2002-06, died March 12 after a long battle with breast cancer.

Born in Albany to Shirley and Nathan Alfred, Persily was a pioneer in public health education. She graduated from Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1964, and earned a master’s degree in public health from Yale University in 1966.

As a clinical professor in the Department of Health Policy, Management, and Behavior, and assistant provost for Health Affairs, Persily was responsible for significant initiatives.  

She developed a strategic plan for recruiting students; started the Certificate Program in Principles and Fundamentals of Public Health; and began a Certificate in Preparedness and Surveillance. She initiated two joint degree programs: the M.D./M.P.H. with Albany Medical College and the M.S.W./M.P.H. with the School of Social Welfare.

In addition, she developed UAlbany’s undergraduate public health minor and laid the foundation for the proposed major.

School of Public Health Dean Philip C. Nasca said, “Nancy made significant contributions to the School of Public Health, increasing the school’s academic offerings and joint programs, recruiting students from across the state, and strengthening the school’s relationship with the community. Her efforts increased the visibility of the school both within the University and the region, as well as across New York State. She was a respected colleague, mentor and friend to all of us in the school."

Prior to returning to Albany in 2002, Persily had an illustrious career in public health management in Florida and Washington, D.C. She held a variety of upper-level management positions at the George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services and the George Washington University Medical Center. She started her own consulting business, the Nancy Alfred Persily Associates healthcare consulting firm, which was acquired by Lewin-ICF in Washington, D.C., in 1990. Persily held leadership positions in the Gerontological Health Section of the American Public Health Association and the Association of Schools of Public Health.

Throughout her career, she was actively involved in planning and developing schools of public health, academic medical centers, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, and home health agencies. She taught courses in public health, managed care, strategic planning and eldercare. She also published two books on the role of hospitals in delivering care to the elderly and one on integrated delivery systems and the continuum of care.

She is survived by two children, Nathaniel Persily and Meredith Persily Lamel, and two grandsons, Aaron Persily and Drew Lamel, both named after her late husband Andrew.

Services were March 13 in New York City and March 14 in Miami, Fla.

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