Sentara expands Healthier Communities Fund by $40M
Health care system's funding will address health disparities in underserved populations
Sentara Healthcare is allocating $40 million to expand its Healthier Communities Fund across Virginia and northeast North Carolina, with an aim to address health disparities that have been magnified by the impact of COVID-19 among underserved populations.
Today’s announcement follows an initial $10 million the Norfolk-based health care system pledged in January to address health disparities and bolster regional health sciences programs, according to a Sentara news release.
The $10 million 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. The funding will go to community-based health efforts such as mobile clinics, community clinics, health screening, testing, behavioral health services and access to nutritious foods as well as academic scholarships for underrepresented students, according to a Sentara spokesperson.
The fund will allow for more engagement of community members, including faith-based leaders, in the distribution of the funds and will include an employee-led fund that allows Sentara team members to directly influence the distribution of funds.
“As we continue to face the impact of a pandemic of unprecedented magnitude, never has our community commitment been more vital,” Sentara President and CEO Howard Kern said. “In order to drive lasting change, we must forge new partnerships, strengthen longstanding relationships and marshal resources to build stronger, healthier, more equitable communities together. Based on the overwhelming response to the Sentara Healthier Communities Fund, Sentara is proud to be able to provide additional support to tackle these pressing issues.”
In 2020, Sentara invested nearly $256 million to support communities through health and prevention programs, teaching and training opportunities for health care professionals, philanthropic giving and uncompensated patient care.