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MVNA: A Lifetime of Compassion

by Ma Lee Vang, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, MVNA

mvna_color_200_01When you think of a century, you think of an entire life span – from birth to adolescence spurred toward adulthood and ending in, hopefully, a wise old age with a legacy worth leaving behind.

Now imagine an organization that trods through the same years, changing with the times in order to carry out its birthright: Making sure the members of its community are healthy. MVNA is a Minnesota nonprofit health care provider who has been caring for the community since 1902. Its humble beginnings include the story of the handful of visiting nurses who cared for tuberculosis patients in the early 1900’s. MVNA has since then expanded into a safety net provider to clients ranging from pregnant teens and infants to older adults, spanning care needs from prenatal and birth to end-of-life and bereavement.

Building Over the Years

From one full-time nurse walking by foot to isolated homes and impoverished neighborhoods, MVNA is now 242 employees-strong providing health care in the community, including:

Adult Health provides Home Health visits to adults with acute and chronic medical conditions including cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, chemical dependency and mental health issues. This core service also provides Personal Care Assessments and Advanced Illness Management, a palliative care program.

Family Health provides family-centered and community based health services to low-income, at-risk families to promote: healthy birth outcomes; positive parent-child interaction; healthy child growth and development; family self-sufficiency; and healthy care environments. Programs include Community of Caring, Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative, Healthy Families America and Nurse Family Partnership.

Community Health provides mobile health screens for children ages birth to ten; child care center and school nurse consultation; and corporate wellness services including annual flu shot clinics, biometric screening and employee training courses for CPR, first aid and AED as well as case management for disable individuals.

Hospice of the Twin Cities aids individuals on their human journey at the end of life. Hospice helps transition patients and families along this path by offering comprehensive care focused on easing the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain that often accompanies terminal illness.

In 2012, MVNA served 12,102 families and 609 hospice patients, requiring over 17,000 home visits and 27,908 hospice visits. In addition, MVNA provided nearly 90,000 vaccinations and presented 105 workshops.

Staying Top-of-Mind

Compassion is nothing new for MVNA, in fact it is a core value and the backbone for over 111 years of service. The true challenge is combining the age-old practice of compassion with ‘ingenuity’ to profoundly impact the health and independence of individuals, families and the community.

How does one stay top-of-mind and relevant in today’s age of health care reform with the changing faces and needs of underserved populations; competing, for-profit entities; and a generation whose memory of a caring-faced, trench coat-clad, satchel-in-hand visiting nurse is vague at best? The answers do not come easily and it’s with the same resolve as that first nurse walking by foot to her first of many home visits that MVNA relies on: ‘one person at a time.’ As we have come to learn, ‘one person at a time’ has burgeoned into a lifetime of compassion.




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