February 22, 2024

Memorial service held for longtime transplant nurse practitioner Karen Starr

Karen Starr

Karen Starr, APRN, a psychiatric nurse practitioner who worked in addiction and transplant psychiatry at VUMC, died Feb. 16 at the age of 78.

Ms. Starr was a veteran who joined the United States Army Nurse Corps in 1978 and served four years on active duty, followed by 24 years in the reserves. She retired from the Army in 2005 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

While she continued to serve in the reserves, she came to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 1984 and served as a psychiatric nurse practitioner at the Vanderbilt Institute for Treatment of Addiction before moving to the Transplant Center in 1995.

In that capacity, she worked with patients and also was a teacher and mentor to other clinicians, including nurses and physicians, as the Transplant Center grew.

“She was an extraordinary nurse, friend and colleague to us,” said Marilyn Dubree, MSN, RN, Executive Chief Nursing Officer. “We celebrate the life and contributions Karen made not only to Vanderbilt University Medical Center but to all who knew her.”

“Karen Starr was a much beloved and admired member of our team,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy CEO and Chief Health System Officer. “Among other milestones, she contributed in very important and significant ways to the early development of our transplant psychiatry program. We send our condolences to her husband and family. She will be sorely missed.”

Ms. Starr is survived by her husband, Mark Myers; her daughters and sons-in-law, Kary and Ed Holland of Destin, Florida, and Kathy and Kurt Madvig of Granger, Indiana; five grandchildren, and her sister, Kathy Brown.

A memorial service for Ms. Starr was held Feb. 20 at Second Presbyterian Church in Nashville. The family requests that memorials in her honor be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association at MDA.org.