Sister Rosalie Bertell, an internationally recognized environmental epidemiologist, a former cancer researcher at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and a public health advocate, died Thursday in Saint Mary Medical Center, Langhorne, Pa. She was 83.
Born in Buffalo, Sister Rosalie was a graduate of Mount St. Joseph Academy. She earned her bachelor's degree in math and physics education from D'Youville College. She entered the Carmelite community in Buffalo in 1951, but her health prevented her from continuing beyond 1956.
Before entering the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart in 1958, Sister Rosalie served on the faculty of Catholic University, Washington, D.C., for a year. From Catholic University, she received a master's degree in mathematics and philosophy and a doctorate in mathematics, biology and biometrics.
Sister Rosalie was an associate professor of mathematics at D'Youville from 1969 to 1973 and served for eight years as a senior cancer research scientist at Roswell Park from 1970 to 1978. She also was an assistant research professor at the University at Buffalo for four years, and director of research and Biostatistical/Radiation Health Consultant at the Ministry of Concern for Public Health, before leaving the Buffalo area for Toronto in the early 1980s.
She worked as Energy/Public Health Specialist at the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice in Toronto from 1980 to 1984. In 1984, Sister Rosalie founded the International Institute of Concern for Public Health in Toronto.
Up until shortly before her death, Sister Rosalie continued to conduct research and traveled the world, providing advice on how to deal with chemical and nuclear hazards that endanger the environment and erode the health of people worldwide.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Monday in the Grey Nun's Motherhouse in Yardley, Pa.