“An outstanding organization and colleagues and clients have pushed me, challenged me, inspired me, and humbled me in the fight for human rights.”
“I knew I wanted to be a nurse. It could be replicated and used everywhere. It is practical, and used to help.”
“Many clients come from cultures where doctors are seen as the ultimate authority. I encourage them to be active participants in their healthcare.”
RN and Clinic Manager
Center for Victims of Torture
“Your job is to put the soul back in the body,” one victim of torture said of the Center for Victims of Torture, which has helped more than 23,000 people in Africa, the Middle East, and Minnesota. For Erin Mehta, it’s been a calling.
She decided to become a nurse after volunteering, alone at age 18, on a medical mission ship, and her international background was of value at the center. Mehta has been to more than 20 countries, her husband is South Asian, and her father, former Minnesota Twins relief pitcher-turned-pastor Tom Johnson, started a nonprofit sports and language camp in Slovakia with her social worker mom, Debbie.
The people who come to the center need psychological, psychiatric, social work, and medical services as well as massage and physical therapy. “Our clients have been exposed to extreme stress and trauma from their torture experience,” Mehta says. “They are some of the most resilient, strong, and educated people I have met.”
These 49 finalists, combined with the 13 award winners, represent the top 25 percent of nurses nominated this year.