Partner Post: A Lifetime of Serving the Community

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Happy Birthday, YOC!
We’re celebrating the five-year anniversary of the Youth Opportunity Center (YOC)—a collaboration of over 30 agencies providing services to young people all in one location to help break down barriers youth face. To celebrate, we’ve asked our partners to share a little bit more about what they do, after all, the YOC wouldn’t exist without them!


by  Ma Lee Cha, MVNA

When you think of “a lifetime,” you imagine birth to adolescence spurred toward adulthood and ending in old age. You think of legacy and memories. Now imagine an organization doing the same: changing with the times, growing, learning, maturing. Since 1902, MVNA, a non-profit health care provider, has been bringing health and healing to where people live, work, and play—a process which has grown with the passage of time.

nursesOne of YouthLink’s “older siblings” in the Twin Cities, MVNA’s life started humbly with a single nurse who travelled on foot to care for patients in mostly isolated and impoverished communities. MVNA has since expanded into a “safety net” provider to clients ranging from pregnant teens and infants to older adults, spanning care needs from prenatal, parenting, chronic disease management, prevention, and wellness, to end-of-life and bereavement services.

Skilled nursing visits were the founding service of MVNA and continue into the present. Today’s nurses now work alongside interdisciplinary staff, such as social workers, aides, community health workers, and others to heal patients and mitigate psychosocial barriers. In January 2016, MVNA integrated with another well-known safety net provider, Hennepin County Medical Center, becoming the hospital’s in-house community health provider.

MVNA has come a long way from one nurse; it is now over 200 employees strong, providing health care in the community including:

  • Family Health – family-centered and community-based health services to low-income, at-risk families in order to promote: healthy birth outcomes; positive parent-child interaction; healthy child growth and development; prevention of complications from illness and chronic disease conditions; healthy and safe care environments; family self-sufficiency; school attendance; and the use of community resources.
  • Community Health – school nurse consultation; Personal Care Attendant (PCA) assessments; and corporate wellness services, including onsite flu and health screening clinics.
  • Adult Health – 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.
  • Hospice – quality end-of-life care focused on easing the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain that often accompanies terminal illness.

In 2015, MVNA served over 23,000 at-home individuals and 378 hospice patients, totaling nearly 73,000 home visits. In addition, MVNA hosted over 1,500 vaccine clinics, administering 78,000 flu shots.

MVNA often partners with other organizations, such as YouthLink, to share resources with patients, learn from each other, and connect with populations who have been historically underserved, like Lucy.

Lucy was fourteen years old when she enrolled in MVNA’s Nurse–Family Partnership program. She had dropped out of school and wasn’t confident of her ability to carry her child to full term while living with her chemically dependent mother. The potential for Lucy to have a healthy birth and raise her child in a positive environment looked bleak, at best.

Working with a partner, the Minneapolis Teenage Adolescent Pregnant and Parenting program, Lucy’s MVNA nurse helped to re-enroll her in a local high school with on-site childcare. An MVNA social worker helped Lucy sign up for county benefits, including WIC, food stamps, and cash assistance.

Lucy was empowered by her MVNA nurse and social worker. She saw hope and the chance to better her child’s life—and her own. Today, Lucy is a star student with excellent school attendance. She works part time and plays on her high school’s basketball team, and her baby is hitting all of his developmental milestones.

What does the future hold? Lucy plans to finish high school and continue her studies—to become a nurse.

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