For more information, contact:
Rev. Donna Smith-Pupillo, RN

(St. Louis, MO) Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries (formerly Deaconess Parish Nurse Ministries Network) began 2014 as an independent nonprofit with a new name, mission, and vision and a team of faith community nurses providing wholistic healthcare, education and advocacy across the St. Louis region.

“We have seen an opportunity to redefine ‘community’ in the type of work we do and where we do it” explained the Rev. Donna Smith-Pupillo, RN. “Today’s community certainly includes the churches that our ‘Parish Nurses’ supported for the past 25 years, but today, communities wanting healthcare, education and advocacy are far more diverse.”

Services offered by Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries are also more diverse. Deaconess’ nurse professionals help people in various faith communities and other settings access and navigate the health system. A primary objective is advancing health and avoiding illness and complications by focusing on following treatment protocols including medication regimens, physician follow-up, personal exercise and good health practices. Nurses give counseling in individual or in group settings. They provide education, referrals and advocacy on health issues; do health screenings; provide emotional and spiritual support to patients and families; and, they help guide transition-of-care as patients move through various settings.

Parish nursing in St. Louis was initiated in 1989 by the Rev. Richard Ellerbrake, then president and CEO of Deaconess Hospital, as a way to recognize the centennial celebration of the Deaconess mission in St. Louis and to provide care to people outside the hospital. With the sale of the Deaconess Incarnate Word Health System in 1997, the parish nurse program found a home in the Deaconess Foundation, becoming the Foundation’s first programmatic effort.

Twenty five years later, a new and bright future exists as Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries focuses on its vision of creating communities of wholistic health.

To support the new organization, in 2011, Deaconess Foundation made a three-year grant to support planning and transition into an independent entity. “Our board felt it important to assure the financial and strategic footing the new organization would need in order to remain sustainable”, said the Rev. Starsky Wilson, President and CEO of Deaconess Foundation. “The Foundation has invested more than $7.5 million into the program and its operations since 1997. We’re pleased with the impact it has made in the St. Louis community and are excited about the new organization’s future independence.”

For more information about Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries, contact Rev. Donna Smith-Pupillo, RN, at 314.918.2596 or via email at More information about Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries can be found at