At Sentara, our mission is to improve health every day. Our vision is to be the healthcare choice of the communities we serve. This includes activities undertaken for the good of the community, or for individuals in need regardless of their ability to pay. As Hampton Roads’ not-for-profit health partner, we feel this level of commitment is our obligation. We also consider it our privilege.
Sentara is proud to support initiatives that promote collaboration and partnership between our regional healthcare service organizations. To learn more about Sentara’s involvement in the community, please click here.
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Sentara Health Foundation in the community:
Help for Homeless Families
Diane Lenihan of Norfolk was working so hard cleaning other people’s homes – in addition to her full-time job – to keep a roof over her family’s heads that she didn’t have time to take care of her own health. When she lost the financial battle and wound up homeless with two teenagers in September 2010, she was able to get help at ForKids, Inc., a nonprofit agency that provides services for homeless families in Norfolk.
Not only did the agency provide a place for Lenihan and her children to live, but because of the medical case management services it provides – in part because of a $25,000 grant from Sentara Health Foundation – she was also able to begin obtaining medical attention for a variety of health issues.
Lenihan began treatment for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma, and eyesight and hearing problems. Then two months later she was diagnosed with stage three-and-a-half vulvar and cervical cancer.
“Homelessness really impacts health,” Vikki Henderson, director of grants and research. “When people are in survival mode, they don’t pay attention to their health until they’re in a crisis.”
“It’s very difficult to navigate the Medicaid system to get the help you need, even if you clearly qualify,” says Medical Case Manager Sonya Hall. Sentara’s grant funded 70 percent of her position. “That’s why it’s so important to have medical case management services.”
“Just knowing that you have someone to help and stand behind you is wonderful,” Lenihan says. She says they made sure she had a way to all her radiation and chemo appointments and checked on her frequently.
“I don’t know what I would have done without everyone here,” says Lenihan. “At Thanksgiving, I said a big prayer for them.” Her cancer has been in remission for five months.
Pictured in the photo above: (L-R) Kristie Bissell, Diane Lenihan and Sonya Hall.