Former SRC member Phil Nasca passes at 77

• Former SRC member Phil Nasca died Friday at the age of 77. The following is his obituary as published in today’s Times Union.

Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 10.45.44 AMALBANY — Philp C. Nasca, 77, born in Buffalo, died suddenly on Friday, December 6, with his wife of 54 years, Bonnie, by his side.

Phil was welcomed into the next life by his parents, Philip L. and Jean Nasca; his son, Jason; his brother Carl; and his sister, Carol. No doubt, there’s a party going on! Phil’s children, Andrea (Damien Schwartz), Christopher (Kimm), and Tony; his grandchildren, Kayla, Michael, Ayana, Abrielle, Nichole, Cassidy, Dylan; and great-grandchild, Izabella will miss his humor and his impromptu history lessons. Phil is also survived by his brother, Patrick, and by many relatives and friends whom he cherished.

Phil’s many interests and hobbies included: astronomy, fishing, travel, history, bird-watching, rocks and minerals, politics, music, old movies, reading, photography, coin-collecting, and exploring new places and making friends around the world.

Phil’s career and commitment to public health was summarized by our good friend, Carol Whittaker: Dr. Nasca returned to the Capital District from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he had been a faculty member and administrator, to become Dean of the University at Albany’s School of Public Health in 2007. He was well known and respected for his expertise in cancer epidemiology, especially those cancers affecting women and children. He served on numerous grant review boards for national agencies including the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. His return to Albany was a homecoming of sorts as he had previously served in the New York State Department of Health as the director of cancer epidemiology before accepting the academic appointment in western Massachusetts. In 2001 a Fulbright Fellowship took him to Vietnam where he worked closely with colleagues at two schools of public health there, collaborations that lasted throughout the remainder of his life. He and his wife, who joined him in Hanoi on the first Fellowship and a subsequent one, formed lasting friendships there which took them back to Vietnam frequently and they hosted visiting Vietnamese friends and colleagues often.

He will be especially remembered for his creation and support of the Center for Global Health at the UAlbany School of Public Health and for the many worldwide partnerships that were established and have thrived since the Center was established early in his tenure as dean. He traveled extensively to partner public health schools and agencies and encouraged students to study and to undertake internships abroad. He will also be remembered for being able to establish new programs and manage effectively even during times of budget restraints. He especially enjoyed interactions with students as a teacher and mentor.

Our family wishes to acknowledge the care given to Phil by Drs. Jonah Marshall, Ami Neghandi, and Padma Sripada. Additionally, the nursing staff of St. Peter’s Hospital provided daily compassionate care. Heartfelt thanks to each of you. Phil’s wish to have a simple exit from this world will be honored and his ashes will be scattered at his favorite beach in Cape Cod. Phil’s colleagues and friends at the SUNYA School of Public Health are planning a tribute, and there will be a similar gathering with our very large family and friends in the Buffalo area to celebrate his life. Both events will take at future dates.

In lieu of flowers, and in honor of Phil’s dedication in the fields of education and public health, donations may be made to one of the following: The Carol A. Whittaker Global Health Travel Award Fund: A check may be made out to “The University at Albany Foundation” and sent to SUNY School of Public Health, 1 University Place, Rensselaer, NY, 12144 and include on the memo line: “In memory of Phil Nasca.” You may also email jjustino@albany.edu at The Center for Global Health to request information on how to make your donation online. Or donations may be made out to: “The Stephen Piorkowski Epilepsy Scholarship” in Phil’s memory and sent to: Stephen Piorkowski Epilepsy Scholarship, 163 Adams Place, Delmar, NY, 12054.


 

In memoriam: Dr. Rahma Mustapha

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Dr. Rahma Mustapha

Some of us had the pleasure of meeting Rahma Mustapha through Rotary, and knew her as a warm, accomplished woman. This, in capsule form, is some of her public persona.

Our hearts go out to our International RLI Vice Chair Dr. Tamton Mustapha on the loss of his wife, Rahma, who passed away on Sunday, November 19, at the age of 71 after a brief illness.

Rahma spent her final days laughing and sharing  memories, with her family by her bedside.

She worked as an intern in the Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco. In 1972, she moved with her husband and young daughter to Kinderhook, She developed the Rehabilitation Department in Columbia Memorial Hospital by bringing in full-time occupational and speech therapists.

She was a constant contributor to local and international charities, such as Save The Children, Southern Poverty Law Center, and At The Crossroads, which was co-founded by her daughter Taj. She was a charter member of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and  served on the board of the United Way of Columbia And Greene Counties and on the Advisory Board for the Capital District Center For The Disabled.

Rahma was one of the first female members of Rotary, joining the Hudson Rotary Club in 1987. Along with her husband, she was integral in the founding of the Kinderhook Rotary Club, where she served as secretary as well as treasurer.

The members of the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club extend their deepest sympathies to Rahma’s family, and thank them for sharing her with the world of Rotary.