135 Years of Serving Our Communities

For over a century, Sentara has pursued its mission of improving health every day. Since its inception in 1888, Sentara has served patients and members with a focus on quality, safety, and innovation. This timeline surveys Sentara’s growth, achievements, and service to the community.


Our History

Sentara’s story began in 1888 when the small facility that would become Sentara Norfolk General Hospital opened. Now a top integrated healthcare network, Sentara has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Explore this evolution through the history timeline.


Providing Care to New Communities

Beginning in 1888, Sentara’s forerunner hospitals provided healthcare to communities that had only limited access to it before. Many served patients regardless of their ability to pay for their care. These hospitals kept pace with medicine’s rapid advancements in the 20th century, growing from facilities with a few dozen beds into the modern institutions we know today.


Broadening Scope and Reach

In 1972, Norfolk General Hospital and Leigh Memorial Hospital merged and created the corporation that would become Sentara Healthcare. Sentara transformed from a hospital organization into an integrated healthcare system, offering a broader range of services to the community. Sentara’s system grew as it modernized and innovated.


Striving for Excellence

As Sentara entered a new century, it renewed its commitment to safety and quality. Sentara’s hospitals adopted the latest medical innovations and technologies for improved care and efficiency. The system expanded to three new states, furthering its mission of improving access to healthcare. Sentara continued serving its community by supporting local health programs.

2020s & Beyond

Looking Ahead

Sentara maintains a tradition that began over 134 years ago, building on its reputation for safety, quality, innovation, and service. In recent years, Sentara has responded effectively to a pandemic, launched new programs to improve health equity, and earned further recognition for providing high quality care. Sentara continues seeking new ways to improve health every day.