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Sentara Health’s second grant of $60K for SLI will encourage students into healthcare pipeline

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Sentara Health has awarded a second grant of $60,000 to the college-access nonprofit Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI).

The grant will help provide college access opportunities for students to gain awareness of their college and career options, including health care, plus support college scholarships for SLI scholars who are pursuing health-related studies and careers.

A previous grant from Sentara supported SLI programming in 2023, as well as scholarships for 18 SLI scholars and alumni pursuing health-related studies and careers including health information management, biology, clinical laboratory science, neuroscience, nursing, psychology, biomedical engineering, occupational therapy, medical Spanish, speech pathology, biotech science and computer engineering.

A response to medical staff shortages plaguing the U.S. healthcare system, the grants are 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.

Sentara has also provided eye-opening opportunities through SLI programming. During the annual JMU Professors in Residence and SLI College and Career Access Day in December 2023, Sentara professionals shared their expertise in promoting salud y comunidad, or health and community. Sentara physician assistant Leodegario Alonso provided the keynote address, sharing about persistence on his career journey and encouraging students to forge their own pathways.

“It is very powerful to have someone like Leo, who looks like the scholars, share a story that resonates with them and inspires them to continue on their career path,” Silvia Garcia-Romero, director of Diversity & Inclusion at Sentara, who also participated, said. “These experiences are so impactful and make a difference in Latino career advancement, and this is why we are proud to be a partner and support SLI’s work.”

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 scholars. Since 2012, SLI has provided more than $542,000 in college scholarship awards, computer awards and dual enrollment and Advanced Placement tuition assistance. SLI alumni have attended 24 colleges and universities.

“This new grant from Sentara will help propel SLI scholars into health-related careers,” SLI board chair Fawn-Amber Montoya said. “It is SLI’s honor to be part of the community that is supporting their professional journeys.”

Scholars Latino Initiative awarded $60K in grant funding from Sentara Healthcare – Augusta Free Press

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.