5th Annual Palenke Arts Festival and Free Pop-up COVID Clinic

5th Annual Palenke Arts Festival and Free Pop-up COVID Clinic

Sunday, June 13, 2021
12:00 - 3:30 PM

Laguna Grande Park
1249 Canyon Del Rey Blvd, Seaside

VNA Provides Health Services for Seven Decades

vna provides health services for seven decades

VNA Provides Health Services for Seven Decades

“The VNA works closely with many of the area’s skilled nursing and residential facilities. When families couldn’t visit, I could often have a nurse check in on someone. We became the conduit between family and patient,” – Tina Del Piero

Shown in photo:
  • Marquita Okarua, VNA Home Health Aide
  • Corey Young, RN, NE-BC, CHPN, VNA Chief Clinical Officer
  • Jane Russo, Chief Executive Officer
  • Sandy Chamberlain, VNA Chief Human Resource Officer
  • Melissa Dausen, RN, BSN, Director, Continuum of Care at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System and VNA Board Chair

On the eve of its 70th anniversary, Central Coast VNA & Hospice moved from outlining celebrations to launching COVID-19 testing and immunization services. The Organization’s clinicians also became a vital source of communication and comfort.

“The VNA works closely with many of the area’s skilled nursing and residential facilities. When families couldn’t visit, I could often have a nurse check in on someone. We became the conduit between family and patient,” says Tina Del Piero, VNA Director of Fund Development.

That dedication has defined the VNA since 1951. The organization assists clients of all ages, delivering school health care, home health assistance, and end-of-life planning and care, and continuing health care education. Some 220 employees and 40 volunteers support the nonprofit, which also collaborates with Meals on Wheels, Alliance on Aging, and other partners.

“We coordinate and connect with resources to best serve our patients, and our team works hard every day to provide specialized, individualized care. It’s all based on trust and compassion,” says VNA Chief Executive Officer Jane Russo. “That’s what our business is about. We’re providing human care to other people.”

Central Coast VNA & Hospice celebrates 70 years on June 29 with food trucks and drive-in showing of the movie “50 First Dates.” For details, and to support the organization, visit ccvna.com. 


Nurses’ Week Recognition

Nurses’ Week was May 6 – 12

During Nurses Week, we spotlighted a few of our long-term nurses, 17+ years with VNA, to recognize them for their hard work and devotion to our community. Nurses make a difference in the lives of our community patients. We celebrate and recognize you for your dedication and sacrifices. Thank you!

Barbara Aoki-Okamura

Barbara Aoki-Okamura is one of our Community Services’ nurses and has been with VNA since 2006. She was a bit apprehensive about becoming a nurse. The site of blood made her feel a bit faint… Barbara majored in Biology at Chapman University and chose to go into nursing after one of her four sisters suggested it. “My sisters never failed me with advice and continue to be there for me now,” says Barbara. She heard of VNA through her son, Tanner’s, friend’s grandmother and pursed her career in Community Services. Barbara works with students at Rancho Cielo and Cherish Receiving Center. She says, “All of the kids I work with each week make an impact on me which makes my job so interesting, challenging, and rewarding. I feel each day teaches me more and more about myself and how I can become a better, more effective person for all individuals that I interact with. It’s been a blessing to work at VNA as I’ve been given the opportunity to be faced with life lessons each day.”

Carla Rankin

Carla Rankin has been a Community Services nurse with VNA since 2005. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Biology and CSU Sacramento with a BSN in Nursing. “Nursing was the perfect union of my love of Biology and people,” Carla says. Her father has been an inspiration and credits him for her prolonged career in nursing. Carla said, “I always remember my father exclaiming, “you have their (patients’) lives in your hands!” That refrain has been a driving force throughout my 39 years of nursing. The relationship between nurse and client is sacred ground. There are few other professions where intimacy and trust are so rapidly and crucially operative in a relationship. Carla works with High School at risk youth with our Community Service department. “Spending time with students, creating a channel of trust, and respecting the student’s boundaries is of upmost importance. The power of connection and developed relations can help heal. This is the unique and powerful impact of nursing!” Carla says.

Maura Lee

Maura Lee was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula and has lived in this area most of her life. She attended San Francisco State University and received a BA in English. Her original plan was to teach English to foreign students and travel. A church friend talked her about the nursing career and “sold it” to her. She first received her CNA certification and then eventually got accepted in the nursing program at Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing. Maura graduated from the program in 1992 and her first job was at Natividad Medical Center in the nursery. She did that for almost a year and then got a job with Hospice of the Central Coast during the summer of 1993 when Hospice of the Central Coast was a part of CCVNA. Maura chose the nursing field rather than teaching because, she felt it was a more stable type of career than teaching, and so, she decided to pursue nursing rather than continue with getting a MA in English and working on a teaching credential. Almost 29 years later, she has never regretted her decision. She started at VNA again with the Intake department in August 2004 and has been with the department ever since. A patient that has made the most impact on her was her first Hospice patient who was an oncology patient that lived with her spouse in Carmel. She taught Maura that “in the end, love is all we need and have. It is the legacy that we leave to others when we are gone.” Maura hopes that someday when it is her time to go, that “love is the legacy” that she will be remembered for.

Donna Trementozzi

Donna Trementozzi was raised in the Salinas Valley. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a nurse! When I was little, I would tell everyone that I was going to help people by becoming a nurse,” says Donna. She graduated from Fresno State with a BSN. Donna started her career in Fresno for 7 years doing pediatrics and home care. Growing up, Donna always had a love for kids, especially infants. Donna has been a pediatric nurse for over 30 years and a NICU nurse for 7 years, as well as home care. She moved back to Salinas when her kids were little, but could only work part-time. Donna was hired at VNA in 1994 when VNA had a pediatric home care and hospice care program. Then in 1998, she took a leave of absence to be a foster parent and grow her family. She and her husband adopted two kids and then from there took care of medically fragile kids through Monterey County. Donna started working with The Cherish Receiving Center as a nurse to do health screens on all kids that came into protective custody and is still there today. Donna says, “One story that has stayed with me was caring for a terminally ill infant named “AMY.” I still remember my first visit to their home. When I knocked on the door of their home, they opened the door and Amy’s Mom was holding her. Amy reached out her arms to me to hold her. I put my arms out and she laid her head on my shoulder and hugged me as if to say, thank God you are here. I still have a relationship with this family today.” Donna and her husband continue to be active in the foster care community and teach classes through Hartnell to new perspective foster families.

Andrea Zoodsma

Andrea Zoodsma has been with VNA since 2000. When it came to deciding what Andrea wanted to do as a career, she could not decide at first between becoming a teacher, like her parents, or a nurse. Her love for people and science drew her into the nursing field to help individuals and make a difference. Andrea began her career with VNA in Extended Services and our Flu Program. When Andrea administers vaccines, she asks her patient, as a distraction, to think of their favorite color. “In 2020, I administered vaccines at VNA Adult Day Center, which was for people with memory loss or early dementia. While vaccinating one of our clients, I told him to think about his favorite color. After vaccination, I asked him what his favorite color was, he did not miss a beat and told me blond,” Andrea said. Her passion for international travel has inspired the opening of VNA’s International Immunization Program. This program is the only travel clinic of its kind in our area and is a valuable asset to Monterey County.

Drive-In Movie Night

You're Invited


Celebrating 70 years of providing professional care, trusted compassion to the Central Coast.


Monterey County Fair & Event Center

Click Here to Register

diabetic home health care

Volunteers are the Heart of VNA

Published by The Monterey Herald  | April 18, 2021

Provided photo of Connie Sapien

Back in 2006, Connie Sapien faced open-heart surgery by recalling the inspirational words written by German-born diarist Anne Frank.“If God lets me live … I shall not remain insignificant. I shall work in the world and for mankind.” Frank fell victim to the Holocaust, but through her posthumous book “The Diary of Anne Frank,” she inspired countless others — including Sapien.

The Salinas resident made it through her surgery, but a subsequent stroke left her left hand partially paralysed. That forced her to give up her love of cutting hair as owner-stylist at Hair Unlimited.

Then came her mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis. Wanting her to spend her final days at home, Sapien turned to VNA & Hospice.

“I saw how great the nurses were at providing services we couldn’t provide,” she said.

Remembering her promise “to do whatever I could to make a bit of difference,” Sapien began to volunteer at VNA.

Sapien had not cut hair since her retirement. “I wanted to try, but found it challenging because some of the patients could not get out of bed,” she said.

She worked with VNA nurses and caregivers to effectively prop up the patients into a sitting position, allowing her to work around her partial paralysis.

“I could continue to use my talent, also socializing with patients and their caregivers,” she said. “I love making people feel good, by looking good. That is the best medicine.”

Volunteering is the heart of VNA

A dedicated team of volunteers helps VNA & Hospice maintain its mission — to provide care in an ethical, effective, compassionate and fiscally responsible manner.

During National Volunteer Week (April 18-24) and all year long, VNA salutes its volunteers for making an invaluable difference in the lives of patients and their loved ones.

But ask any VNA volunteer and they will report huge physical and emotional rewards.

“What I always hear from volunteers is the connection they make with families,” said VNA volunteer coordinator Quinn Junghans. “The giving comes easy and they come away feeling like they received all the companionship and comfort.”

Studies show that volunteering can improve mental and physical health. A selfless act of giving can reduce stress, combat depression and provide a sense of purpose.

To be eligible for hospice, a patient must be diagnosed with a life-limiting condition with a prognosis of six months or less. Junghans says that’s not always the case.

“Sometimes it becomes a year or more, and a lot of the volunteers become almost members of the family,” she said. “They’ve been sitting there every week for a few hours. They create a bond with the patients, but they become a respite for family members, too. For a lot of them it’s a 24-hour job.”

When Junghans first speaks with families about the possibility of having a volunteer companion, they often politely decline.

“When I tell them about our program and let them know we have a wonderful group of fully vetted volunteers, and that they can have a nap, take a shower, leave the house to see a friend, or sit in the sunshine, I can almost hear the sigh of relief.”

Many talents, skills welcome

Bringing comfort or even distraction to a patient is immensely rewarding. A volunteer can listen, read aloud, hold a hand, keep vigil, do light housekeeping, run errands, or just brush someone’s hair.

“The connection, sharing personal stories, even with someone who is not awake, fills your soul with goodness,” Junghans said. “It’s a profound person-to-person experience that can change your life.”

From the initial phone call and in-person interview, VNA works with prospective volunteers to find the right fit. VNA provides an orientation and team training, where volunteers can learn more about hospice, the interdisciplinary team, and how to work with patients.

Volunteers are drawn from every age group and background. The only qualification is a real desire to make difference in the lives of their neighbors.

Visiting Volunteers provide direct, non-medical support services to palliative and hospice patients and their families. Office Volunteers provide skills and abilities that can be utilized in an office setting. Pet Therapy Volunteers provide companionship and enhance the quality of life for hospice patients through visits with certified pets. Therapy Volunteers, like Sapien, provide services and support through giving haircuts, massages or playing music.

VNA honors its own

VNA first began providing comprehensive and compassionate services back in 1951.

This year VNA & Hospice celebrates 70 years of providing the highest quality health care to residents of the Central Coast.

In light of that milestone, VNA has announced plans to honor and celebrate its employees and volunteers, and create a special fundraising Movie Night on June 26 at Monterey County Fairgrounds.

The VNA family and supporters will gather at the fairgrounds from 5-7 p.m., for a drive-in style experience, including food trucks and beverages.

For more information on VNA, visit www.ccvna.com. Those seeking volunteer opportunities with VNA should reach out to Junghans at (831) 751-5500, or email volunteer@ccvna.com.

Jane Russo appointed as Chief Executive Officer for VNA & Hospice

Jane Russo CEO VNA & HospiceThe Central Coast VNA & Hospice, Inc. Board of Directors takes great pleasure in announcing the appointment of Jane Russo as Chief Executive Officer.  Since 2011, Jane has served in a variety of positions with the VNA, including Chief Strategic Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Hospice Administrator/Director of Business Development.  She resides in Monterey with her family.

Michael McGirr, Board Chair, was effusive in his expression of support for the appointment of Jane Russo to lead the organization of over 220 employees.  The VNA provides community health services, home health, and hospice care throughout Monterey, San Benito, and southern Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties.  “Jane is a tremendous talent, great leader, and a strong and relentless advocate for the health care needs of our Central Coast communities.” said McGirr.  “She has unmatched experience at delivering exceptional, quality health care to our clients”.

Jane, a graduate of The University of Denver, has over 25 years’ experience in healthcare, prior to VNA held Regional Director positions with HCR Manor Care.  That experience will be vital to the future of health care delivery by the professionals at the VNA.  “I have such respect for this organization and the mission it brings to our communities.” said Russo.  She has also served on the board of the local Arthritis Foundation, the California Association of Health Services at Home, and was instrumental in securing a VNA’s Associate Membership of the United Veterans Council.  Russo continues “I am honored to focus on supporting our team, improving patient outcomes through the equitable delivery of services, and integrating with our health care systems.

“Jane advocates for compassion and optimizing the transition from hospital to home” stated VNA Board member, Allen B. Radner, MD with Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System.  “On behalf of the board we look forward to working with Jane to improve quality clinical outcomes.” stated VNA board member, Debbie Sober, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, with Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula.  “


In its 70th year, VNA is dedicated to providing the highest quality health care to residents of the Central Coast by meeting their individual needs in a caring, effective, honorable, and accessible manner.

For more information, visit www.ccvna.com or call 831-372-6668


Release Date:  February 1, 2021

Media Contact: Tina DelPiero, Director of Fund Development

MPUSD to offer free mobile immunization clinics

Article posted at montereyherald.com

MONTEREY — With the school year set to begin next week, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District will hold free mobile immunization clinics Wednesday to ensure seventh-grade students have received their required shots.

The first drive-up clinic will be held Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. at Los Arboles Middle School in Marina. The second will take place Thursday at Seaside High School from 2-4 p.m.

“Our goal is to continue to provide all of the support we can to our families in accessing and being ready for the school year with all that they need,” said Donnie Everett, an assistant superintendent with MPUSD. “One of those is the immunization requirements that California still has in place for the admission and start-up of school.”

Students heading into the seventh grade are required to have a Tdap, (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccine before the start of the school year. Even though the district will start the school year with distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district wants to ensure all seventh graders are ready to attend class when campuses reopen.

Read full article here.

Central Coast VNA Mobile Center Brings Hospice to Spanish-Speaking Population

Published at HospiceNews.com By Holly Vossel | July 24, 2020

Providers have increasingly recognized the importance of outreach as concerns about racial equity mount across the nation. A California hospice provider has launched a mobile resource unit to inform and educate people about end-of-life decisions and care in Spanish-speaking communities. Central Coast VNA created a Latino Mobile Resource Center to break down language and cultural barriers and bring hospice into a new light within their local area.

Read the full article here.

From 10,000 steps a day to barely being able to walk, one Salinas man's journey with Covid-19

Originally published at the MontereyCountyWeekly.com

One morning in early April, Patrick Dunne couldn’t taste the raspberries in his oatmeal. That’s weird, he thought. In the shower he noticed he couldn’t smell the soap....

...“The VNA was instrumental in helping me learn how to take care of myself and head in the right direction on a daily basis over those three weeks,” Dunn says. “I am deeply in debt to their assistance in helping me make the progress I have made up to this point.”

Read more of Dunn's story here.

VNA Hospice’s Innovative Latino Mobile Resource Center Van

VNA Hospice’s Innovative Latino Mobile Resource Center Van to Visit Three Locations in South County in July

KING CITY, Calif., — The nonprofit VNA Hospice’s innovative Latino Mobile Resource Center van will be at three South County locations in July — one in Chualar and two in King City.

The van, which was launched in November 2019, continues its mission to deliver information and resources about end-of-life decisions and care to the local Spanish-speaking communities of Monterey County.

The van, which is a part of Hospice Giving Foundation’s Juntos con Esperanza partnership, will be at the following locations:

  • 12-3 p.m. Thursday, July 9: 2020 Needs assessment survey distribution, Alma’s Bakery and Deli, 25482 Payson St., Chualar.
  • 8-10 a.m. Thursday, July 16: VNA bringing resources to the community of King City at St. John Catholic Church, 504 N. 3rd St., King City.
  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, July 23: VNA bringing resources and needs assessment survey distribution, Leo Meyer Center, 415 Queen St., King City.

This program was funded (in part) by the Hospice Giving Foundation.



Since 1951, the nonprofit VNA Hospice has used an integrated, team-oriented approach to helping those facing a life-limiting illness, along with their families and caregivers.

For more information visit www.ccvna.com, or call (831) 372-6668.