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Sentara Health grant to increase healthcare career opportunities for SLI scholars

Sentara Health has awarded $60,000 to the college-access nonprofit Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI) to increase underserved representation in healthcare.

The grant will support opportunities to develop SLI scholars’ leadership skills and access to skilled health careers, training for SLI mentors, and the strengthening of SLI’s long-term capacity to serve students. In addition, the grant establishes the Sentara SLI Scholar College Award designed to empower SLI scholars to achieve health careers and recognize their leadership in related service and activities.

A response to medical staff shortages plaguing the U.S. healthcare system, the grant is part of Sentara efforts to create a pipeline for young students to their desired healthcare careers while also positively impacting their community’s economics and health equity outcomes.

“By reducing the financial burden on students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, offering stronger mentorship and training opportunities, and removing barriers to higher-paying and more meaningful careers, we are investing in the future of healthcare and empowering the next generation of professionals,” said Becky Sawyer, Sentara executive vice president and chief people officer.

“I’m excited for SLI students to receive support from Sentara,” said SLI board chair Fawn-Amber Montoya. “SLI Scholars will be better prepared to enter higher education because of these types of resources.”  

A 501c3 nonprofit, SLI creates college access opportunities through collaborations with public school teachers and local university faculty, staff, and student mentors. SLI also offers financial assistance to its scholars, since 2012 providing more than $392,000 in college scholarship awards, computer awards, and dual enrollment tuition assistance. SLI alumni have attended 21 colleges and universities.

“SLI scholars are highly capable young people who serve the greater good in meaningful ways,” said Stephania Cervantes, SLI managing director. “Increased access to health careers will result in greater financial security and improved social determinants of health for them, their families, and our communities as a whole.”