Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Professor Emeritus

Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management


  • Mid-America Nazarene University, 1971-1974, Pre-Nursing
  • University of Kansas, BSN, 1974-1976, Nursing
  • University of Missouri @ Kansas City, MSN, 1978-1979, Pediatric Nursing
  • University of Tennessee, PhD, 2005-2008, Nursing with Homeland Security concentration

Professional Credentials

  • Basic Disaster Life Support
  • Advanced Disaster Life Support
  • Instructor Disaster Life Support
  • ICS 100, 200, 300, 400 700 & 800
  • HAZMAT Awareness, Operations & Technician
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Teaching Specialties

  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Pediatrics

Research Interests

  • Disaster Response/Preparedness
  • Faith-Based Disaster Response
  • Children in Disasters
  • Disaster Education


  • Sigma Theta Tau, International; Eta Theta Chapter; Gamma Chi Chapter
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • National League for Nursing
  • World Association of Disaster and Emergency Nursing; Nursing Section; Research Committee
  • National Disaster Life Support Executive Consortium; Academic Review Committee
  • National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty (past)
  • NEA Hospital Preparedness Committee
  • Craighead County Local Emergency Planning Committee
  • Craighead County Office of Emergency Management Task Force
  • Nazarene Disaster Response


Dr. Persell came to ASU in 2001. Initially her teaching responsibilities were focused completely on pediatrics. With the terrorist attacks on 9/11, her focus changed to disaster and emergency preparedness. She has been a major contributor to the development and continuity of the Multidisciplinary Minor in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness at ASU. She is the coordinator of the ASU Regional Center for Disaster Preparedness Education. This center has offered the suite of disaster life support courses since 2006. She has studied at REAC/TS (radiological preparedness) and spent the summer of 2007 in Japan with HICARE (Official Japanese Agency responsible for caring for those exposed to the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and RERF (Radiation Effects Research Foundation - jointly operated by the government of Japan and our Department of Energy).

Prior to coming to ASU, Dr. Persell was an instructor at the School of Nursing at the University of Michigan teaching advanced physical assessment and pediatric clinical courses, Assistant Professor at Tennessee State University and coordinator of the family nurse practitioner program, Iowa Methodist School of Nursing where she taught pediatrics, and Harford Community College clinical pediatrics. Concurrently, Dr. Persell maintained a faculty-based practice in most of these locations in which she provided primary care to children in both federally funded clinics, health departments and private practice. Dr. Persell has authored several articles in the field of disaster preparedness and has presented her research findings nationally and internationally.

Deborah Persell

Contact Information

P: (870) 680-8286
F: (870) 972-3554


Building: Eugene W. Smith Hall,
Room: 410H