Nabih Rafia Asal

December 21, 1938 ~ September 25, 2020 (age 81)


Dr. Nabih R. Asal, Ph.D., F.A.C.E.

Dr. Nabih Asal, age 81, of Arlington, VA passed away suddenly on Friday, September 25, 2020.

Raised in Nazareth, he was the son of Rafia and Marie Asal, who preceded him in death, along with his sister Somaya. The eldest son of seven siblings, he was known for his witty sense of humor, deep commitment to teaching and learning, engaging stories, strong Christian faith, and outgoing personality.

Dr. Asal emigrated to the United States in 1959, first to attend William Jewell College, where he received his BS in Chemistry. He then attended the University of Missouri, completing his MSPH in Epidemiology, and finally he received a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma. After completing his education, he entered academics as a professor at the University of Oklahoma and then the University of Florida. Over his long and productive career he mentored more than 195 graduate students pursuing the MPH, MS, PhD, and DrPH degrees at two schools of public health and two schools of medicine. He became a professor emeritus at both universities. 

For most of his professional career, Dr. Asal was on the faculty of the OUHSC College of Public Health, where he was a David Ross Boyd Professor and Chair, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology (1990-1999). During his tenure at OU, he received numerous teaching awards, including the College of Public Health Outstanding Teacher Award and University of Oklahoma David Ross Boyd Professorship for consistently demonstrating outstanding teaching, guidance, and leadership in an academic discipline. He also served two and a half years at the Morehouse School of Medicine where he directed the MPH program and received awards from the MPH, the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency, and the MS in Clinical Investigation Programs.  

Dr. Asal served as a Senior Epidemiologist at the CDC where he chaired the Task Force that prepared the National program for Prostate Cancer Control Research Agenda.  He was named an American Cancer Society Research Scholar in 2003 and is a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology.  In 2006, 2008, and 2010, he received the Public Health Award for Faculty Excellence. In 2008, he received the Public Health Student Association Faculty Superlative Award for being the most effective seminar speaker for his Grant Writing Seminar.

In 2003, he married the love of his life, Mai, in Washington DC. They enjoyed traveling together and loved visiting and hosting friends and family.  

Dr. Asal is survived by his loving wife, Mai and his five siblings, Abla Haddad, Sameer Asal, Ramsey Asal, Atif Asal, and Jamal Asal, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and an extensive network of colleagues and friends across the globe which he managed to keep in close contact with up to very end.

Due to the current pandemic, the family is having a small graveside service on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 2p.m. at Oakwood Cemetery at 401 N. Roosevelt Street in Falls Church, VA. The service will be live-streamed at for those unable to join in person. Immediately after, family and friends will take a commemorative walk along the Alexandria waterfront.

Flowers may be sent to Everly Funeral home in Falls Church, or in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society in his memory.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nabih Rafia Asal, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
October 1, 2020

2:00 PM
Oakwood Cemetery
Roosevelt Street
Falls Church, VA

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