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Norfolk State and Old Dominion universities have received $2 million each to develop a joint School of Public Health. According to Sentara Healthcare, a not-for-profit health system in Virginia, the $10 million Sentara Healthier Communities Fund (which includes the $4 million university grant) will enhance collaboration for Sentara’s partner universities, and between health systems and community partners.

“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.”

Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick said the investment will go a long way towards helping both universities strengthen their existing health sciences infrastructure and ensure their programs are more closely aligned with other healthcare partners in the region.

“The Norfolk State University community is grateful for Sentara’s commitment to address health disparities in Hampton Roads,” said NSU President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston. “This generous investment will enable us to best prepare our graduates. We look forward to collaborating with Eastern Virginia Medical School, Old Dominion University, and the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters to facilitate actions that will improve public health in the communities that we serve.”

Richard V. Homan, MD, president and provost of Eastern Virginia Medical School and Dean of the School of Medicine said a public health school in Hampton Roads will be a tremendous benefit to the region and the state.

“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. This contribution to our collective effort will help us all address the health disparities impacting those most in need throughout our region,” he said

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