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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 12, 2005 | Vol. 35 No. 2
Obituary: Marion D'Lugoff, 61, SoN Faculty Member and Community Health Activist

Marion D'Lugoff, right, with patient Benita Montgomery at the Wald Center at Rutland in 2003.

Marion D'Lugoff, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and a health care crusader for East Baltimore, died of lymphoma on Sunday, Sept. 4, surrounded by her family and friends. She was 61 and lived in Pikesville.

D'Lugoff was known throughout Baltimore for her dedication to community-based care and her commitment to bringing quality health care to the city's poorest and most vulnerable populations. When she joined the School of Nursing faculty in 1992, D'Lugoff found both a desperate need for community-based health care in East Baltimore and a lack of opportunities for nursing students to experience community health nursing in an urban setting. In response, and as a mechanism to address both problems simultaneously, D'Lugoff founded the Lillian D. Wald Community Nursing Center in 1994 to provide free health services to the poor, uninsured or underinsured residents of East Baltimore. Today, the Wald Center at Rutland serves hundreds of families and offers dozens of students each year an opportunity to conduct clinical rotations and gain valuable experience among urban populations.

Throughout her career, D'Lugoff earned accolades and national acclaim for her work in community health nursing. She was the first nurse to become a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow, earning this prestigious award from the Institute of Medicine in 1976. In 1996, she was honored with the Johns Hopkins Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award in recognition of her volunteer work. For her service to mothers and children in East Baltimore, she received the M. Frances Etchberger Award from the Maryland Public Health Association in 2002. More recently, D'Lugoff was named a Nurse Hero Honoree, a 2003 Health Care Hero award bestowed by the statewide publication The Daily Record.

D'Lugoff earned the respect, admiration and gratitude of her students, co-workers and patients not only for her nursing skill but also for her willingness to give of herself. She established a personal connection with each client and was unafraid to care about her patients as individuals.

"Marion held an unwavering commitment to her clients," said Beth Sloand, an SoN assistant professor and pediatric nurse practitioner who worked with D'Lugoff at the Wald Center. "In fact, it seemed like those in the direst circumstances, such as immigrants [and the] impoverished, abused, homeless, mentally or emotionally ill, received the very best of health care and caring from Marion."

D'Lugoff's former students agree. "When she spoke with anyone — a colleague, patient, student or child — she would give them 100 percent of her attention," said Jennifer Klein, a Dallas nurse practitioner who works with HIV patients. "She taught me that people are people and should be respected, whichever side of the needle they are on."

Shannon Micheel, a family nurse practitioner in Eugene, Ore., believes her nursing practice is definitely influenced by her former professor. "I will often encounter a situation in which I ask myself, What would Marion do?" she said. "I will go the extra mile for my patients because that's how I was mentored."

Nancy Glass remembers D'Lugoff as both a mentor and a colleague. Now an assistant professor at Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing, Glass is creating a community clinic similar to the Wald Center. She believes that as D'Lugoff's students embark on their own careers, "they spread her vision of nursing."

"Marion had a passion about this community and about providing care," she said. "She loved being a nurse, loved her profession. And she taught me to love nursing too."

Nursing Dean Martha N. Hill concurred with the memories of colleagues and former students, observing that D'Lugoff was "the Divine Miss M of community health nursing. She was a maven, a mentor and a marvelous motivator.

"Through her students' and colleagues' memories and through the Wald Center, more patients and future students will continue to benefit from D'Lugoff's legacy," said Hill, urging all to join her in ensuring that "the clinic remains a continuing memorial to Marion, our Divine Miss M."

D'Lugoff is survived by her husband Burton C. D'Lugoff, a retired associate professor of medicine and psychiatry at Johns Hopkins; children Daniel Raphael D'Lugoff and Sarah Rachel D'Lugoff; siblings Jack Isaacs, Larry Isaacs and Ce-Ce Sloan; many generations of nieces and nephews; and many, many friends.

Funeral services were held Sept. 7. In lieu of flowers, contributions in D'Lugoff's memory may be directed to the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, 525 N. Wolfe St., Room 529, Baltimore, MD 21205. For more information, contact the SoN Office of Development at 410-955-4284.


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