Marion D’Lugoff, APRN, MA, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (SON) and a health care crusader for East Baltimore, died of lymphoma on Sunday, September 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 SON 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 each year offers SON students 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. Award in recognition of her volunteer community 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 Maryland Daily Record.
D’Lugoff earned the respect, admiration, and gratitude of her students, coworkers, 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.
Beth Sloand, a SON assistant professor and pediatric nurse practitioner who worked with D’Lugoff at the Wald Center, recalled, “Marion held an unwavering commitment to her clients…In fact, it seemed like those in the direst circumstances, such as immigrants, impoverished, abused, homeless, mentally or emotionally ill, received the very best of health care and caring from Marion.”
D’Lugoff’s former students agree. According to Jennifer Klein (BS ’02, MSN ’04), a Dallas,TX nurse practitioner who works with HIV patients, D’Lugoff didn’t keep all the boundaries that normally exist between a client and a professional. “When she spoke with anyone-a colleague, patient, student, or child-she would give them 100% of her attention. She taught me that people are people, and should be respected, whichever side of the needle they are on.” Shannon Micheel (BS ’02, MSN ’04), a family nurse practitioner in Eugene, OR, 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?’ I will go the extra mile for my patients because that’s how I was mentored.”
Nancy Glass (BS ’94, MSN ’96) 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.” She adds, “Marion had a passion about this community and about providing care. She loved being a nurse, loved her profession. And she taught me to love nursing too.”
SON Dean Martha N. Hill concurs 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.” Hill adds that “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.” Hill urges 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 Dr. 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.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in D’Lugoff’s memory may be directed to the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, 525 North Wolfe Street, Room 529, Baltimore, MD 21205. For more information, contact the SON Office of Development at 410-955-4284.
For media inquiries, contact Lynn Schultz-Writsel at [email protected] or 410-955-7552.