Sentara announces $10M community health investment
Funding to universities will address public health concerns in Hampton Roads/Peninsula
Norfolk-based Sentara Healthcare announced Thursday a $10 million investment to be split among grants to local universities as well as public health and health equity improvement initiatives.
The Sentara Healthier Communities Fund will be disbursed during a two-year period among Sentara’s partner universities, including Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University; as well as Eastern Virginia Medical School and organizations in Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg and Suffolk.
“We can only do so much to improve the health and well-being of our community inside the walls of our facilities,” Sentara Healthcare President and CEO Howard P. Kern said in a statement. “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.”
ODU and NSU will each receive $2 million to support the development of a School of Public Health, $3 million will go to support collaborations among ODU, EVMS and NSU for public health and health equity initiatives and the remaining $3 million will go to improvement grants for community organizations in Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg and Suffolk to address underserved communities.
Grant recipients are intended to use funds in the following ways:
- Create, enhance partner university capabilities to improve public health, health equity in underserved communities
- Promote collaboration among ODU, NSU and EVMS
- Support community organizations to improve public health, health inequities
- Support the establishment of a School of Public Health
- Promote long-term public health, health equity activities’ sustainability
“A public health school in Hampton Roads will be a tremendous benefit to the region and the state,” said Dr. Richard V. Homan, EVMS president and provost, in a statement. “We have a long history of collaborating on public health programs with ODU and look forward to the expanded partnership opportunities with Old Dominion and Norfolk State University made possible by Sentara’s gift.”
In August 2020, Sentara announced that it had signed a letter of intent to combine organizations with Greensboro, North Carolina-based Cone Health by mid-2021. Financial details were not disclosed, but the two health systems have a combined revenues of $11.5 billion. Their headquarters will remain separate, according to Sentara, and the merger is subject to state and federal regulatory review. Kern will lead the combined organization from Norfolk. Some of the health systems’ goals for merging include increasing health insurance options, building technology platforms and growing community impact.