Issue 8 Stories
Sentara in the Community

Community Highlights of 2018

The primary role of Sentara RMH Medical Center and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital is to provide care to patients in need, but as community hospitals we also engage the communities we serve in a variety of other ways, providing free health screenings, offering information and classes to help keep our communities healthier, and hosting events to provide fun and relaxing opportunities to meet others. Our role as community partners is one we take seriously—not only inside the walls of our facilities, but also out among those who live in and visit our communities.

Here we highlight some of the 2018 community events each hospital participated in or hosted.

Fridays After Five

One popular event in Charlottesville is Fridays After Five, a summer-long free concert series held at the Sprint Pavilion downtown. The events are also a fun and informal way for us to meet a wide variety of community members and remind them about the great services our hospital provides. On various Fridays from mid-April through mid-September, Sentara Martha Jefferson employees were available at our display table to greet attendees, answer questions and provide information. Typically, each week we highlighted a different Sentara Martha Jefferson service, including cardiology, the new orthopedics and sports medicine center, the breast health center, and the family birthing center.

Sunsets with Sentara

On June 27 and July 24, Sentara Martha Jefferson invited community members to its campus on Pantops Mountain, where they could bring their lawn chairs and blankets to watch a beautiful sunset, listen to music performed by local bands, and enjoy food and beverages offered by local vendors. Proceeds from food and beverage sales benefitted the Sentara Martha Jefferson Phillips Cancer Center. More than 700 people attended the June sunset event, and a sizable number also came out for the July event, which was cut short by rainfall. Sentara Martha Jefferson promotes these relaxing summer evening events as a great way for staff and community members to mingle and get to know each other.

Aging Gracefully Conference

Each May, the Sentara RMH Senior Advantage Program sponsors Aging Gracefully, a half-day conference that promotes healthy aging as a way of life. This year more than 100 people attended the event, held at Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene on Boyers Road. Conference offerings included health presentations on osteoporosis and on sleep and aging, along with free health screenings for blood pressure; cholesterol (provided by the RMH Foundation); blood glucose; hearing, vision and glaucoma (provided by the Lions Club); and diabetic foot ulcers. Musical entertainment was also a part of the day’s events.

Senior Advantage is a social and educational group for anyone “55 or better” who wishes to take a proactive stance toward healthy aging. Members have access to health screenings, seminars and social events, as well as the Aging Gracefully conference. To learn more about Senior Advantage, call 540-564-7001 or visit

Festivals in the Valley: Shenandoah Pride Festival and Harrisonburg International Festival

As part of Sentara RMH’s annual community outreach, hospital staff was present at the Shenandoah Pride Festival in downtown Harrisonburg. We provided free blood pressure and diabetes screenings, as well as health information that encouraged members of the LGBT community to inform us of their needs when they come to the hospital for care.

Hospital employees also volunteered to staff the Sentara RMH booth at the Harrisonburg International Festival, an annual event that for the past 20 years has celebrated the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of the Harrisonburg/Rockingham community. A proud co-sponsor of the International Festival each year, Sentara RMH provides free health screenings and information about health and wellness at the event.

The hospital’s Diversity and Cultural Competence Council works hard year-round to educate Sentara RMH staff about the diversity that exists among our patient population, and the hospital is proud to support these diversity events.

Rockingham County Fair

One of the largest community events each year for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County is the county fair in August. Each year, Sentara RMH is there to meet and greet fairgoers, provide information about the hospital’s services, give away lots of free swag, and offer our very popular free health screenings. This year, scores of hospital staff gave away 8,000 bottles of water, 3,000 Sentara drawstring backpacks, 3,000 adhesive bandage dispensers and 800 Sentara footballs. We also provided more than 1,100 blood pressure screenings, 143 blood glucose screenings, 134 cholesterol screenings and 10 diabetic foot ulcer screenings. In addition, we invited visitors to take advantage of our “I am Sentara RMH” selfie booth and share their photos on our Facebook page.

Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring

Each year, staff members at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital participate in the Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring, which is affiliated with the local United Way. During the event, hospital staff members, in collaboration with those from many other community groups and organizations, moved out into the community, volunteering their time and talents to support a variety of service projects. Among the local entities aided by Sentara Martha Jefferson participants were elementary schools, businesses and other local healthcare facilities.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Charlottesville United Way, and Sentara Martha Jefferson was honored to host the day’s kickoff event.

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