Suffolk attorney named vice chairman of Sentara Healthcare board

Published 7:52 pm Monday, June 6, 2022

A Suffolk attorney has been named vice chairman of Sentara Healthcare’s board of directors.

Whitney Saunders, who has been a member of the board of directors since 2017, was voted into the role, which also oversees the Sentara Healthcare medical affairs committee.

Saunders has practiced law in Suffolk since 1982 and is currently of counsel with Saunders & Ojeda, P.C., and president of the Blocker Foundation.

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He received his education from Woodberry Forest School, Swarthmore College and the University of Virginia School of Law, and is an active member of the local and state bar associations. He has also served as chairman of the Virginia State Disciplinary Board.

Allan Parrott was elected to be chairman of Sentara Healthcare’s board of directors, having served as vice chairman for the past three years. He has been on the board since 2015 and succeeds Dian Calderone, who has served on the board since 2014 and will stay on the board as immediate past chairman and take over leadership of the governance committee.

“Dian’s leadership vision has been outstanding and vital during one of the most dynamic periods in Sentara’s 134-year history,” said Howard P. Kern, Sentara Healthcare president and CEO in a statement. “I appreciate Dian’s advocacy and dedication to the communities we serve and thank her for her service and for her time as chair. I also welcome Allan and Whitney to their new roles as chair and vice chair.”

A news release cited Calderone’s tenure as chairwoman as Sentara navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and increased pay and benefits for its employees while working on issues related to the violence and verbal abuse of health care workers and working on health inequities.

Sentara’s board of directors helps guide the company’s strategic direction, approves capital investment in facilities, sets quality, safety and clinical outcomes goals and executes the company’s non-profit mission of improving health daily.

The company has about 29,000 employees and 12 hospitals in Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, including Sentara Obici Hospital in Suffolk.