Nan Astone, a former Johns Hopkins School of Public Health professor and Center for Adolescent Health researcher, passed away June 15. Nan was dedicated to improving the lives of young people in Baltimore and the world. She was a cherished mentor, teacher, colleague, wife, mother, friend, Girl Scout leader and Sunday school teacher.
Nan was passionate about designing programs to benefit adolescents experiencing homelessness and housing instability. “Some of the solutions that are proposed to serve homeless people who are older might not fit. Homeless young people are quite invisible,” she explained in a video interview. Through surveys, Nan sought to learn more about the day-to-day experiences of youth experiencing homelessness so interventions could be developed to better suit their actual needs.
Nan earned a PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1988. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at University of Wisconsin, she joined the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School. Nan was a PFRH faculty member for 24 years. She later worked at The Urban Institute’s Center for Labor, Human Services and Population as a Senior Fellow.
As a researcher, Nan’s skills were unique in that she designed both surveys of small community based groups and large nationally representative samples.
Nan published over 75 manuscripts in a variety of journals on a range of subjects including: the transition to adulthood, school dropout, and family demography. An expert in demographic and statistical methods used for longitudinal data analysis, Nan received the W.T. Grant Faculty Scholars Award in 1991. For several years, Nan was the deputy editor of the Population Association of America’s official journal, Demography.
“I do what I do so that all young people make the transition to adulthood as full of hope and confidence in the future as I did,” she said.
Nan is survived by her husband, Nick Burbank; her children, Daniel and Katie Burbank; and her father, Buck Astone. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Youth Empowered Society and Girl Scouts of America.