NORFOLK, Va. — Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health in partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) announced on Thursday a $100 million investment to address social determinants of health in under-served communities across the Commonwealth. 

This investment builds upon Sentara’s commitment to create healthier communities and improve the quality of life for Virginians most in need.

The announcement was made at the Sentara Heart Hospital, and Virginia's Governor Ralph Northam and other local leaders were in attendance.

Sentara will contribute $50 million to advance these goals in partnership with LISC which has committed to assemble an additional $50 million from public and private sources to complement Sentara’s investment. 

“Addressing these social issues is usually not possible inside the walls of a health care facility. If we want to reduce the need for emergency or medical care, we must have a positive impact on our patients and health plan members in their communities,” said Howard P. Kern, president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare. “Sentara’s mission is to improve health every day, in partnering with LISC, this investment has an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on public health for generations.”

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As part of this investment, LISC will open a local office in Hampton Roads to drive programmatic action and capital deployment, in partnership with its national team. LISC Hampton Roads will complement LISC’s long-standing program office in Richmond and its unique Rural LISC investment program, which has supported efforts throughout the Commonwealth. 

The organization's partnership will help create housing and economic opportunities to address some of the most fundamental issues in public health.

This goes beyond traditional healthcare. Research has shown that social determinants of health, the conditions in which people live, work and learn, have a significant and lasting impact on health outcomes. 

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Not only will the money be used to create housing and economic opportunities, it will be used to facilitating the development and construction of new affordable housing, including supportive housing units for individuals with mental and behavioral health needs, as well as promote health care access and social services for residents. 

The partnership also will work to prepare people for quality jobs in growth industries through training and coaching, as well as providing support to local entrepreneurs, with the goal of improving individual incomes and expanding local employment. 

“As a physician, I know the critical role that communities play in determining health outcomes. Sentara and Optima have long been strong community partners dedicated to giving back and improving the health of Virginians though innovative, value-driven, and high-quality clinical care. This new partnership demonstrates a clear recognition of the importance of treating patients in a holistic way, and I am certain that this investment will be vital to our efforts to address the most pressing health challenges for generations of Virginians to come,” said Governor Ralph Northam. 

Click here to learn more about Sentara. Click here to learn more about LISC.

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