Minerva Blegen Sathe, RN, was a pioneer nursing figure in Spokane County and played a pivotal role in bringing quality health care to its residents.

She came to Spokane in 1921 as an American Red Cross nurse and became Spokane County’s first and only public health nurse in 1923. Her early duties included water and sanita­tion inspec­tions and grew to include respon­si­bility for health programs in 155 area schools. Her visits to schools were made in a Model‑T Ford over bumpy, dusty roads to bring immuniza­tions and health exami­na­tions to hundreds of students.

In 1935, during her employ­ment, the county health office received special recog­ni­tion for its progress in the health field for five consec­u­tive years. Its staff grew under her guidance, and in 1951 Minerva became Director of the Public Health Nursing office. She was instru­mental in setting up various clinics with private physi­cians and county nurses for prenatal care of women, exami­na­tion of crippled children and mental health care.

At her retire­ment in 1965, she had served Spokane County for 42 years and had helped the office grow from a staff of one (herself) to 16 employed nurses under her direc­tion. She played a pivotal role in ushering in many health care changes including the first use of the Salk vaccine for polio. Miner­va’s dedica­tion to the improve­ment of health care and her years of public service helped create an atmos­phere in which quality care could grow for the residents of Spokane County.