Sentara Healthcare announces $10 million investment to help combat health disparities in local undeserved communities

Posted at 6:45 PM, Jan 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-09 18:56:29-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Sentara Healthcare announced a $10 million investment to help combat local health disparities.

The $10 million investment, called the Sentara Healthier Communities Fund, will be split into three areas of focus and officials say it will "enhance capabilities for Sentara’s partner universities and collaboration between the universities, health systems and community partners to improve public health"

The investment will be focused on the following:

  • University Grants ($4 million total): $2 million each to support Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University for their hopes of creating a school of public health
  • Collaborative Grants (up to $3 million): Support for collaboration between ODU, EVMS and NSU. Grants will be allocated to ODU/EVMS, NSU/EVMS, or all three as they jointly collaborate to address the public health and health inequities in underserved communities
  • Community Grants (up to $3 million): The intent for this fund allocation is to make public health and health equity improvement grants in cities such as Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg and Suffolk. These funds will be allocated to community organizations and other partners to work together to address public health and health inequities in underserved communities in these localities.

“We can only do so much to improve the health and wellbeing of our community inside the walls of our facilities,” said Howard P. Kern, president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare. “In order 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. Sentara is proud to collaborate with Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, Eastern Virginia Medical School and community partners to tackle these pressing issues.”

Sentara says the following goals are intended to guide the grant recipients in ways to prioritize the funds:

  • Create and enhance capabilities of partner universities to directly impact and improve public health and health equity in underserved communities;
  • Promote and enhance the collaboration between ODU, NSU and EVMS;
  • Support community organizations to improve public health and health inequities;
  • Support efforts to establish a School of Public Health, critical to ensuring vitality of public health in the region; and
  • Promote long-term sustainability of public health and health equity activities and funding required to assure continuity of programs

In 2019, Sentara provided $316 million to support the communities it serves through healthy prevention programs, philanthropy and uncompensated patient care. In addition, they made a $100 million investment over ten years in collaboration with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).