In Memorium: Professor of Medicine Nancy Petry

Nancy Petry, Ph.D., passed away on July 17 from breast cancer. She was 49.

It is with profound sadness that I inform you that my dear wife, Nancy M. Petry, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine in the Calhoun Cardiology Center and Editor-in-Chief of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, died on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 from breast cancer. She was 49 years old.

Nancy joined the faculty of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in 1996 after receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University and completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Vermont School of Medicine in clinical addiction research.  She became an academic superstar at UConn School of Medicine as she developed unique methodologies to treat addictive disorders with a treatment known as contingency management. She received 2 accelerated promotions and after only 6 years on our faculty was the youngest full professor with tenure in the history of the School at age 34. Nancy was internationally known for her work in behavioral treatments and impulsivity disorders. During her career at UConn she garnered over $40 million in funding as a principal investigator from the National Institutes of Health, wrote and published over 300 original articles and single-handedly wrote a number of books in the areas of pathological gambling, contingency management and internet gaming disorders. Nancy was very proud that her proven methods to treat addiction disorders from her NIH trials were successfully disseminated to the Veteran’s Administration Medical Centers across the USA and over a multi-year period showed large successes of contingency management in real world practice. She always told me that it was one of the largest translational demonstration projects in the field of experimental psychology.

Despite her enormous successes during her career, Nancy was very modest and willing to mentor and help others in their careers. She trained a large number of post-doctoral fellows during her 22 years on the faculty, many of whom became successful faculty members at academic institutions around the country.

On a very personal note, Nancy was a loving wife, my best friend, and a wonderful mother to our two young children Hannah and Noah. They will truly miss growing up without her. When Hannah developed type 1 diabetes at the age of 1, Nancy became a ‘clinical expert’ in her management while maintaining a busy academic career. Hence, in lieu of any material items of any kind to our family in these trying times, please send donations in Nancy’s honor to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, 20 Batterson Park Road, #302, Farmington, Connecticut 06032.

William B. White, M.D.
Professor of Medicine