August 4, 2021

The Starr Family Memorial Tribute Fund

The Starr Family Memorial Tribute Fund provides travel grants to nursing and medical students to attend professional seminars or conferences related to the field of psychiatry

After his mother’s passing, Dr. Russell Miller (U-M, A.Mus.D. ’95) called Michigan Medicine to explore ways to pay tribute to her. He shared that his mother, Jerry Starr Miller, had been a psychiatric nurse who continued his family’s long tradition of pursuing careers in medicine. Dr. Miller’s great grandmother was among the first female graduates from the U-M Medical School. 

The Starr Family Memorial Tribute Fund was established to memorialize and pay tribute to Jerry Starr Miller and Lillis Wood Starr, women who pursued medical education and spent careers providing medical care. Jerry Starr Miller was a career nurse who worked more than 25 years at Alhambra Psychiatric Hospital and was awarded Nurse of the Year there several times. Her grandmother, Lillis Wood Starr, was a pioneer for women in medicine, earning her medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1891. She went on to decades of spearheading public educational work on medical hygiene in Southern California’s vibrant Adventist community. 

The Starr family celebrates female medical professionals in the 19th, 20th and now 21st centuries. Most recently, Terry Lynn Bartmus DNP, Jerry Starr Miller’s great niece, finished her psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner board certification. Terry Lynn is looking forward to transitioning from 11 years in emergency medicine to private psychiatric practice to help meet the mental health needs of her patients and medical colleagues. 

“Through the Starr Family Memorial Tribute Fund we are so pleased to honor these exceptional women in our family while encouraging students to consider specializing in psychiatry, an area with a tremendous need for young talent and dedication,” says Dr. Russell Miller. 

Two-time Starr award recipient, Jack Buchanan, M.D., expresses his gratitude:

Dear Starr Family,

From lectures to workshops to networking and meeting new colleagues from across the country (and India!), attending this year’s PsychSIGN (Psychiatry Student Interest Group Network) meeting not only affirmed my commitment to a career in psychiatry, it also advanced me along that path.

I even got to hop over to the national APA meeting on the last day, where I attended a thought-provoking panel session on how to integrate foundational concepts from the field of Positive Psychology into psychiatry. (…)

Needless to say, I took so much away from this year’s conference, and am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have attended. Thank you sincerely for your generous contribution to help make my participation possible.

Warmest regards,


Add to the Legacy of Someone You Love

Dr. Russell Miller was able to make a truly personal and meaningful difference with his gift to establish the Starr Family Memorial Tribute Fund. Naming the fund for his mother and grandmother has created a lasting tribute to both women, honoring their many achievements.

At Michigan Medicine, there are many ways to add to a loved one’s legacy. Together, we can celebrate their passions, achievements, or their memory. An endowed or expendable gift to support patient care, research, or education will benefit others in your loved one’s name, extending the impact of their lives.

Contact Courtney Metzger at [email protected] to learn more.