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Mary was born and grew up in East Orange NJ. She graduated in 1943 from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio with a BA. She received an MN (Master of Nursing) in 1946 from Western Reserve University (now Case WRU) Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing in Cleveland, Ohio, receiving her RN in 1946. She was a Cadet Nurse while there. Later in 1972 she received an MA in Public Health Nursing from NYU and did all but dissertation work on a doctorate.
She worked in nursing for more than 50 years.
Her first career was as a missionary nurse for the United Church of Christ starting in North China 1947-1951, where she taught student nurses and helped run a 120 bed hospital in Taiku (now Taigu) Shanxi, working with Chinese colleagues and students when there was no doctor during liberation and the change from Nationalist to Communist governments in 1948-49. She was reassigned to Angola, Africa in 1951 and worked in mission hospitals in Dondi and Galangue teaching student nurses and running or helping run the hospitals without electricity or running water.
She was reassigned to Mt. Silinda hospital in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where she did the same work from 1960-1965. It is located in the southwest corner of Zimbabwe close to the border with Mozambique.
In 1966 she went to WoraWora Hospital in Ghana for a year to substitute for another nurse.
She was assigned in 1968 to Geneva, Switzerland to the World Council of Churches to serve on a new Christian Medical Commission, established to survey all church medical work in the third world, both Catholic and Protestant, because the expense of running these hospitals was more than mission boards could handle. The survey was to help missions make decisions about their medical work. She participated in surveys in Ghana the Cameroon, and India.
In 1970 she returned to the USA and after her studies at NYU accepted a university teaching post at Adelphi University in the School of Nursing teaching Community Health Nursing and Family Dynamics and Epidemiology (after a course at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) for 20 years until she retired in 1992.
Her third career as a retired nurse led her to health policy, specifically working for universal health care (Medicare for All or Single Payer).
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