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Nancy Chernus-Mansfield

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Nancy Chernus-Mansfield Obituary
Chernus-Mansfield, Nancy
November 23, 2010
Nancy Chernus-Mansfield, of Los Angeles, California, died suddenly of a heart attack November 23, 2010 at her home. Nancy was born in Los Angeles to Frances and the late Joseph Chernus. A loving daughter and a proud mother, Nancy is survived by her son, Adam Mansfield, 27 of Los Angeles; her brother Ken Chernus, sister-in-law Zina Chernus and two nephews, Joseph and Benjamin of Venice, California and her mother, Frances Chernus Cutler of Studio City, California.
Nancy graduated from UCLA at age 19 and received her Master's Degree in child development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena. Nancy held a PhD degree and an appointment as Assistant Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology in the Keck School of Medicine at USC. Nancy was widely recognized as an international leader in the field of family and grief counseling related to coping with blindness or impaired vision in childhood. In 1987, having served as Executive Director of the Blind Children's Center in Los Angeles, she became a faculty member in the Vision Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. There she was an active grief counselor, family ombudsman, and integral member of the clinical retinoblastoma team. That same year, Nancy helped found the Institute for Families and served as its Executive Director a position she's held since that time. In 2008 The White House Project recognized Nancy as one of 80 outstanding women leaders in business, social entrepreneurship, politics, public policy, community issues and non-profits from across the U.S. She has published numerous professional articles, chapters and books. Her instructional videos are currently used in more than 25 medical schools and by the US Military to teach medical professionals how to deliver bad news with compassion. Nancy's most recent focus was on classic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children and families who require multiple outpatient medical interventions for the prevention of blindness. In 2010 the Costenbader Lecture at the annual American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus meeting, described her work and was dedicated to her.
While Nancy garnered significant professional recognition throughout her career, her abiding passion was focused on helping patients and their families. A gifted therapist, she had keen insights into the needs of even the smallest children facing life-and-death challenges. In addition, she was a spirited defender of their right to be treated with dignity and compassion. She will be remembered for her tireless dedication to caring for others. Always available, Nancy spent hours in person and on the phone including nights and weekends, helping families cope with often devastating news about their child's medical and visual future. She worked tirelessly throughout her professional career to raise money for the Institute for Families from foundations and individuals to ensure that no family was ever charged for counseling services.
A public memorial and day of remembrance will be held at All Saint's Episcopal Church, 134 N. Euclid Ave. in Pasadena beginning at 11:30 AM on Saturday, January 29, 2011. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the non-profit to which Nancy dedicated her life's work, the Institute for Families (www.instituteforfamilies.org).

Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 17 to Dec. 19, 2010
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