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Sentara Commits $10 Million to Improve Community Health

Analysis  |  By Mandy Roth  
   January 08, 2021

Virginia-based health system will issue grants to universities and community organizations support development of a school of public health and address health inequities.

Creating healthier communities is a mission of many hospitals and healthcare systems. Norfolk, Virginia-based Sentara Healthcare is putting $10 million behind its commitment in an effort to improve the health of the communities the 12-hospital nonprofit healthcare system serves.

The Sentara Healthier Communities Fund will issue grants to two Virginia universities to help establish a school of public health. In addition, the Fund will disperse grants to stimulate collaboration between three universities to address public health needs and health inequities in underserved communities, and to community organizations dedicated to similar endeavors.  

"To drive lasting change, we must work together to extend our impact beyond our walls to the environment in which people live, work and learn," said Howard P. Kern, president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare in a news release. "Sentara is proud to collaborate with Old Dominion University (ODU), Norfolk State University (NSU), Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), and community partners to tackle these pressing issues."

The investment will be split into three areas:

  • $4 million in university grants to support the efforts of ODU and NSU to establish a school of public health.
  • Up to $3 million in grants to support collaboration between the three academic institutions as they jointly address the public health needs and health inequities in underserved communities.
  • Up to $3 million in community grants to communities and organizations located in areas Sentara serves that are beyond the immediate footprint of the universities involved.

"These investments build upon Sentara's commitment to create healthier communities and improve the quality of life for those most in need," according to Sentara. In 2019, the health system provided $316 million to support the communities it serves through healthy prevention programs, philanthropy, and uncompensated patient care. In addition, Sentara made a $100 million investment over 10 years in collaboration with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the nation's largest community development organization, to address social determinants of health in underserved communities across the Commonwealth.

Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.

Photo credit: Photo provided courtesy of Sentara Healthcare

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