by Matt Richardson, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, with thanks to Adrian Melissinos, Ph.D., R.N.
Professor Emerita Marianne Taft Marcus, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., of the University of Texas at Houston School of Nursing passed away January 16, 2022.
Dr. Marcus served as the John P. McGovern Distinguished Professor of Addiction Nursing and Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Education and Research. In these roles she explored mindfulness and meditation as methods of reducing stress for individuals in recovery and brought together people from diverse backgrounds to support prevention at the community-level. During her time at UT she also served as Chair of the Department of Nursing Systems and Director of the Master of Nursing Education Track, among other roles.
“McGovern Professor of Addiction Nursing, Marianne Marcus, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., second from left, with her equally doctoral family–daughter Laura Marcus, Ph.D., left, husband Donald Marcus, M.D., and daughter Susan Marcus-Mendoza, Ph.D.–all enjoyed the McGovern reception”, Focus Magazine, Fall 2000, p.14. MS 174 Marianne Marcus, EdD, RN papers, box 1 folder 4, McGovern Historical Center.
Dr. Marcus had deep roots in the Houston medical community. She was born at Hermann Hospital, where her mother also worked as a nurse. What’s more, her grandfather Gordon Avery Taft was on the Hermann Estate Board while the hospital was being built.
Following her studies at Columbia University, Dr. Marcus worked as a nurse at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital. After taking time to raise her children, she began teaching nursing and added two more graduate degrees from Columbia. In 1980 she returned to Houston, enrolling in the Education doctoral program at the University of Houston and beginning her longstanding affiliation with the UT Health Science Center.
Dr. Marcus received numerous recognitions throughout her career. Just some examples: in 1994 she was elected to a Fellowship in the American Academy of Nursing; in 1998 she was awarded the John P. McGovern Award for Excellence in Medical Education presented by the Association for Multidisciplinary Education and Research in Substance use and Addiction (AMERSA); and in 2006 she was elected to the University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education.
Dr. Marcus with John P. Walters, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in the George W. Bush administration, undated. MS 174 Marianne Marcus, EdD, RN papers, box 1, folder 6, McGovern Historical Center
But, of course, the people who make an impact are far more than the sum of their titles and awards. Friend of the Archives and nursing historian Adrian Melissinos, Ph.D., R.N., offers this personal reflection:
“I believe I first came to know Marianne while she was teaching a physical assessment class sometime around 1980. She always had a welcome smile and looked happy to see you. Later I spent several years working with her as a substance abuse research assistant. She was committed to the education of nurses and repeatedly fussed at me to enroll in a doctoral program until I finally did.
I have many fond memories visiting with Marianne throughout the past decades and I think of her when I see the initials after my name.”
The McGovern Historical Center serves as the repository for the MS 174 Marianne Marcus, EdD, RN papers, w hich contain newsletters, publications, research project designs, and other materials related to her work. Mostly dating from 1998-2008, her papers reflect Dr. Marcus’ interests in substance abuse research and helping prepare nurses to address addiction issues. Much of the collection material relates to her project “Stress reduction in therapeutic community treatment.” To hear more about Dr. Marcus’ life and career in her own words, check out her 2016 interview as part of the Texas Medical Center Women’s History Project.