Lazarenah Miller Payne, 73, a former nurse with the District of Columbia Health Department, died Tuesday at Howard University Hospital after a long illness.

Mrs. Payne had a long career as a public health nurse, including staff nurse at the Phillips Institute in Philadephia and director of Negro clinics of the State Board of Health in Delaware. She also served as assistant director of social service at Lincoln Hospital in New York City.

Born on Sept. 5, 1905, in Fort Valley, Ga., Mrs. Payne graduated from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Philadephia in 1930.

In 1945 Mrs. Payne went to New York from Washington to take a position with the Community Service Society and she became affiliated with the American Red Cross.

In 1954 she received a master of arts degree from Teachers College at Columbia University and then became supervisor of public health nurses at the Mount Vernon, N.Y., Health Department.

At the time of her retirement in 1974 she was a teacher with the practical nursing program at Mabel Dean High School in New York City.

She is survived by a daughter, Mary Louise King, of Hyattsville; a sister, Sadie M. Colloway of New York City, and a brother, Houser A. Miller of Fort Valley.