National Health Ministries Award

Perrin honored for efforts to establish nursing schools

By Bill Lancaster

Dr. Marjorie M. Perrin
Dr. Marjorie M. Perrin receives the Elise W. Stutzer National Health Ministries award for her accomplishments in the field of health education. Photo by Joseph Williams

BIRMINGHAM, June 20 -- National Health Ministries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) awarded its first Elise Woodward Stutzer Award to Marjorie M. Perrin, a Louisville nurse and health activist.

Perrin headed efforts to establish three nursing schools while she worked with Humana in order to address the nation's nursing shortage, according to the program. She served as dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Spalding University, where she initiated the first parish nursing-certificate program.

She helped establish a parish nurse program at Second Presbyterian Church in Louisville. She also worked to raise funds for the Presbyterian Community Center, and developed collaboration with the University of Louisville School of Nursing to provide clinical services to the low-income community.

The Rev. Douglas Slagle, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, told the breakfast gathering, "The community center is in one of the poorest neighborhoods, and it's several blocks from the hospital. Marge was involved in the health center as they built a new building to include a clinic, and she really spearheaded a movement to put a Presbyterian health center there."

Kathy Mershon, a long-time Humana co-worker, told the group, "Marge is the ultimate caregiver. She has been engaged in the healing ministry of Jesus for many years. It is integral to who she is. She is always about caring about other people. She under-promises and over-delivers. I think she [Stutzer] would be very proud that somebody like Marge received this first award that was named in her honor."

Sandy Pait from Tidewater, VA, a great niece of Stutzer, said, "Her church was her life. She just lived simply and did what was right. She would be so honored."

Stutzer left $16 million to the former United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, which has supported health ministry in the denomination "for decades," according to the bulletin. She lived in Brooklyn, NY, where she was a member of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. She died in 1976.

The award in her name will be given biennially in conjunction with the General Assembly.