Life for poor women who are pregnant is made measurably better by the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency. The Minneapolis based non-profit has a new boss. Jen Van Liew, Ph.D, a registered nurse with a business and health science background takes over this month from Mary Ann Blade.
MVNA visiting nurses give prenatal advice to poor women who are pregnant, and then the nurses stay with mom and babe for a time after delivery to make sure they’re doing OK. There’s more than advice. A corps of MVNA volunteers, mostly women, from the Agency’s Club 100 raise money for clothes and other family necessities.
Minnesota has one of the lowest poverty rates in the country, but it’s rising. And women and children are disproportionately represented in the numbers. MVNA gets hundreds of referrals a month but has limited staff and money and must pick and choose who gets help. Most of the Agency’s work is in Hennepin and Ramsey counties. You may know the Agency from it’s flu vaccination programs, one of the biggest in the country.
Mary Ann Blade ran the shop for twenty years as the Agency’s annual budget grew from $3 million to $25 million. Jan Van Liew comes to MVNA from Iowa where she directed Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa.