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EVMS receives $10 million endowment gift from Sentara Healthcare

Story Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2011 10:49:00 CST

Sentara Healthcare is donating $10 million to Eastern Virginia Medical School to support two initiatives that will build on EVMS' strength in medical simulation and the treatment and safety of older patients.

The donation represents the largest endowed gift in the school's history.

This gift will create two $5 million endowments to support operations in the newly renamed Sentara Center for Simulation and Immersive Learning at Eastern Virginia Medical School and in the EVMS Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology. EVMS is a pioneer in adapting simulation to medical and health-care training, and the Glennan Center is a focal point for care, research and education focused on older adults.

"Sentara has been a longstanding partner and supporter of EVMS. This endowment represents a legacy commitment to a cornerstone of the medical community in Virginia and the nation. This endowment will assist in providing world-class simulation training to clinicians and will long ensure a continued focus on the needs of the aging population in our community. We are glad to be part of the history and growth of EVMS as a well respected medical institution," says David L. Bernd Sentara Chief Executive Officer.

Harry T. Lester, president of EVMS, praised Sentara Healthcare for its generosity and its leadership.

"This gift is a great testament to the partnership between EVMS and Sentara. We are grateful for the proactive support Sentara has offered in two areas that are of critical importance in health care today. EVMS is a leader in medical simulation and in training physicians and health-care providers to understand the unique needs of older adults. The support of our efforts by Sentara is an important next step."

The Sentara Center for Simulation and Immersive Learning at EVMS is one of only a handful in the country that integrates task trainers, computerized manikins, virtual interfaces and standardized patients (people trained to portray patients) to create more realistic training scenarios. The additional resources from the Sentara endowment will help the center develop into one of the world's premier sites for medical simulation.

EVMS makes extensive use of simulation throughout its medical and health professions curriculums. One entire floor of the school's new Education and Research Building is dedicated to medical modeling and simulation.

Sentara will use the center to train physicians and clinical staff in simulated team-based care models, advancing patient safety and care delivery.

The EVMS Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology focuses on prevention, intervention and research involving age-related diseases. Glennan Center physicians also are extensively involved in education, helping the next generation of health care professionals understand how to care for older adults. Virginia Glennan Ferguson made the founding gift to establish the center in 1996.

The Sentara endowment will provide for the creation of a program in geriatric patient safety. This collaborative effort focuses on improving treatment and safety in the elderly and successfully transitioning these patients from the hospital to home or another care facility. The endowment also supports the potential establishment of a safety-oriented Sentara Fellowship.

Robert M. Palmer, MD, director of the EVMS Glennan Center, is a nationally known authority in geriatric patient safety. He was the principal investigator on a landmark study of an intervention, the Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Unit, which was shown to enhance the health outcomes of hospitalized older patients. ACE has been widely adopted in the U.S., Canada and Europe.