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New name sharpens Adelphi’s focus on future

Patrick Coonan took over as dean of Adelphi University’s School of Nursing in 2004 with an extensive agenda.

“We were a program that had a proud history, but one that was in some trouble because of prior university leadership that did not like or want the nursing program on campus,” said Coonan, RN, EdD, NEA-BC, FACHE, a 1978 alumnus of the School of Nursing, located in Garden City, N.Y. “We did not have a good reputation. It became a challenge. As part of my future, I had to bring it back to where it was.”

Growth in student and faculty numbers, additional programs, a new facility that will break ground this fall, and even a new name indicates that Coonan, his staff and the nursing faculty are having success.

Adelphi recently celebrated the nursing school’s 70th anniversary with the announcement that the name would be changed to Adelphi University College of Nursing and Public Health.

The new 99,600-square-foot Nexus Building and Welcome Center, which will be the college’s home, will cost $58 million to $60 million and be completed by the fall of 2015. Last year, Adelphi brought on Philip Alcabes, PhD, to head the new Masters of Public Health program.

Coonan said the timing was ideal to change the nursing school’s name to reflect its direction.

“It all came together, sort of like the perfect storm,” Coonan said. “Last summer, I brought up the subject that public health was not very prominent on campus and needed to be so, and how were we going to do that? We decided to put nursing and public health together and make [public health] more prominent. And we just happened to be getting a brand new building.”

Alcabes said Adelphi will be among a rare group of schools that combines nursing and public health and also offers graduate public-health programs.

“That’s exciting. We’re breaking new ground,” Alcabes said. “I hope this will allow us to make the most of the opportunity to demonstrate the linkages between nursing and public health.”

Gayle Insler, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, addressed the change recently with other Adelphi faculty.

“[The name change] elevates the important individual contributions of nursing and public health, as well as the emerging critical relationship between them,” Insler said. “The change also reflects respect for the rich 70-year history of Adelphi’s School of Nursing.”

Coonan said in his 9 years at Adelphi, the nursing school has gone from 435 students with 11 full-time faculty to 1,200 students with 39 full-time faculty.

“[Nursing and public health] have been together on and off for years,” Coonan said. “When we marry [nursing and public health] under the same umbrella with a unique focus, you get different patient outcomes.”

Joe Stevenson is a freelance writer.

TO LEARN MORE about Adelphi’s new College of Nursing and Public Health, visit

By | 2013-07-22T00:00:00-04:00 July 22nd, 2013|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro, Regional|0 Comments

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