2021 March

2021 Mennonite Health Assembly Meets Member Needs in a New Way

Enlightening, uniformly excellent, relevant and dynamic. These are how some Mennonite Health Assembly attendees described this year’s Mennonite Health Assembly, held March 9-11. Attendance was up about 50% over past, in-person Assemblies. 230 MHS members and friends registered for this year’s event.

The three days were filled with opportunities to learn, engage, grow and be inspired. Assembly included keynote speakers, nurture sessions, worship, workshops, roundtables and Q&A sessions. The theme “Emerge” focused the event material on what attendees have learned during the pandemic and how it is affecting their organizations and them as leaders.

“Empowering our leaders with best practices inspired by our faith and Anabaptist values is what distinguishes the MHS community”, said Karen Lehman, MHS President & CEO. “Even when we are physically apart, we are stronger together as one network.”

The generosity of our sponsors and lower costs associated with the virtual platform allowed greater attendance access.  Many organizations took advantage of the group discount for five or more attendees opening the event to many who have not had the opportunity to attend in the past. One attendee commented, “I liked that our agency was able to send more people from a wider variety of backgrounds to attend.”

Keynote speakers inspired, encouraged and challenged attendees to be their best, authentic selves. In the voice of one attendee, the “keynotes were a highlight. Excellent choices!”

The event kicked off with Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky of the Trauma Stewardship Institute. Laura dove into key practices for self-care that are especially applicable to the current times. Laura reminded us that we need to care for ourselves to process the traumas of others. Only then can we emerge with the power and energy to continue to offer our gifts and skills in service.

Day two featured actor and author Ted Swartz. Ted communicated deep truths about life through poignancy, humor, story, and interviews with his father. Ted reminded us that in the midst of the unknown, uncomfortable and unpredictable beauty, joy, and truth can and do emerge.

Philip Gulley, author, speaker and Quaker pastor called attendees to action on the final day. Philip reminded us that Jesus did not come for the wealthy, but for the poor. The Holy Spirit emerges through us when we seek to be the hands and feet of Christ to those in our midst.

Assembly included nineteen 15-minute workshops on a variety of topics geared to equip members to strengthen their ministries. Attendees provided feedback that they “enjoyed the succinct and focused sessions” and that workshops were “relevant and timely.” Another said, “It was enlightening to see how much good content could be given in 15 minutes.”

Driven by the pandemic, holding Assembly exclusively online was new for MHS. MHS staff had a steep learning curve in hosting a virtual event and using a virtual event platform.

 “I am proud of the MHS team. They worked hard and did an excellent job. We got a lot right. We learned some things we would do differently if we were to hold another virtual event in the future,” said Clare Krabill, MHS COO and Director of Mennonite Health Assembly.

One learning is that MHS would extend workshop sessions and add a live Q&A integrated into each workshop session. There is a balance between insufficient depth and maintaining attention spans. MHS would also incorporate a buffer at the beginning of presentations so attendees don’t miss the first few seconds of sessions.

Many attendees expressed they missed being together in-person. It is through the relationships and in-person networking that we find strength, encouragement, and fun. Does this mean MHS won’t offer a virtual event again? That remains to be seen.

“There is great value in widening the access to the leadership content grounded in Anabaptist values. MHS will explore ways to continue to include a broader audience,” Clare said. “We know that our members value being together and plan to offer an in-person Assembly each year.” Block your calendars for Mennonite Health Assembly 2022 in Greenville, South Carolina, March 23-26! In the meantime, for those who attended this year, keep enjoying the workshop content through April 11th. And we hope to see you in Greenville next year!

2021 March

Seeking Indoor Air Quality Enhancements?

Dianne Piet

Enhancing indoor air quality is a top priority for many communities. A community with a safe indoor environment provides overall health and peace of mind for residents and families, eliminates fears of communal living, and increases resident occupancy levels by differentiating the safety within the community.

As a result of COVID-19, indoor air quality equipment manufacturers offer both proven and new solutions. There are several methods to improve indoor air quality and each has its own merits. These strategies can be used independently or added to existing HVAC systems. A combined approach utilizing best practices with special attention to equipment function and design is recommended for the most effective results. Air cleaning technologies to consider include filtration, dilution, ionization, and ultraviolet light.

Filtration is the premise of enhancing the air filters on HVAC systems to filter out airborne contaminants and          clean the air. The MERV rating system measures a filter’s ability to capture particles of a specific size. The higher the MERV rating, the finer the particles captured. High-efficiency particulate air filters can remove air particles as small as 0.3 microns, removing some viruses from the air. When considering different filters, only install the highest MERV rated filters the HVAC system can support without affecting the system’s airflow or the equipment can be damaged.

HVAC systems can also dilute indoor air by increasing the air changes per hour or expanding the hours of operation. However, many existing systems may not adequately manage the increased amount of incoming unconditioned outdoor air and may require a larger capacity unit or significantly increase energy costs. Adjusting dilution is not a do-it-yourself solution as it may cause balancing and capacity issues, seek the advice from an HVAC service technician. 

Needlepoint bipolar ionization, or NPBI, replicates nature’s process of cleaning the air. NPBI produces negative and positive charged oxygen ions that attach to harmful pathogens, thus neutralizing them or enlarging their size to be captured by the HVAC system. Adding a standalone NPBI unit to each air handling unit and HVAC zone is preferred. If this is not possible due to cost, it is recommended to prioritize the high occupancy areas.

To determine which NPBI product will deliver the best results, the type of HVAC unit,  duct design, air velocity, humidity, and room size must all be considered. Utilize only UL certified NPBI products that have been confirmed  not to create harmful levels of ozone. Ozone, a lung irritant, was a byproduct of some older bipolar ionizing technologies, but newer NPBI technologies has overcome this issue.

UVC lighting is an intense form of ultraviolet light, similar to sunlight’s effects, that   inactivates harmful pathogens, like viruses, that pass within the effective radius of the bulb. Inactivation is a result of the time of exposure and distance to the light source. Therefore, it is essential to consult the vendor for UVC light placement within an HVAC unit to ensure maximum efficiency, optimized operations, and protection to the equipment from UV damage.

Given existing HVAC systems are not designed to accommodate an increase in filtration or dilution, and there is no single air cleaning technology that improves indoor air quality and solves all concerns with infectious disease transmission, the recommendation is to consider a multi-faceted approach. A multi-faceted approach may utilize NPBI and UVC technologies, as well as enhanced filtration and increased dilution.

To learn the multi-faceted approach that will deliver improved indoor air quality, creating a safer and healthier indoor environment within the community, contact Dianne Piet, your dedicated CPS Client Account Manager, at 603-935-7923, email:

2021 March Your Words

Your Words Responses

What is something that started during the pandemic that you will continue to do when it’s over?

I will continue to strategically connect with team members via zoom for brief meetings and check ins to mitigate transportation challenges and reduce travel time in our schedules.

Jen Foster, Executive Director of Central California Mennonite Residential Services

Continue to use Zoom to better facilitate the use of remote partners

Ned A. Haylett, Owner of Haylett Consulting Group

Some board and committee meetings will happen via Zoom or other virtual platforms.

Warren Tyson, Board Chair of Frederick Living

The pace and the space in my personal schedule. I will continue to spend a balanced amount of time at home evenings and weekends.

Bob Redcay, Dir. of Human Resources at Friendship Community

Zooming with family who live far away.

Deanna Beins, Administrator at Menno Haven Rehabilitation Center

We will continue to monitor the temperatures of all individuals entering the facility. It is the first step in electronic access to the facility.

Stanley J Noffsinger, CEO of Timbercrest Senior Living Community

A virtual concert to kick off our annual Grand Illumination event. It reaches more people including families of residents who are out of the area.

Amy Cummings-Leight, Director of Advancement at Frederick Mennonite Community DBA Frederick Living

Reflection/quiet time in the morning

Michelle Rassler, Executive Director at Landis Communities

RLPS has really enjoyed becoming experts at attending and hosting webinars that help us share information and stay connected to our clients and industry partners. We feel this is a silver lining of the pandemic. While we love participating in sessions in person and look forward to getting back to this format – the virtual platform definitely broadens participation. We plan to stay engaged in these opportunities going forward.

Margaret Yu, Director of Client Experience at RLPS Architects