As soon as they moved to Charlottesville from the West Coast 12 years ago, Drs. Bindu and Mohit Nanda embraced their new community and sought opportunities to give back through the intersection of health care and philanthropy. They have been leading by example ever since.
Bindu, a dermatologist whose practice is limited to skin cancer and Mohs surgery, is an advocate for accessible health care and preventive education—and she puts her ideals into clinical practice. “I treat every patient who comes to me, regardless of his or her ability to pay,” she says. “I feel strongly that all members of our community should be able to count on quality care, even if they happen to be economically disadvantaged. Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital supports this philosophy of philanthropy, which makes my profession that much more fulfilling.”
A critical component to community health, according to Bindu, is preventive education and proper screenings like skin cancer screening, made available through Sentara Martha Jefferson, thanks to generous philanthropic and organizational efforts by donors, board members and dedicated healthcare providers. “Our current healthcare system is designed to treat illness, not preserve health. If we want better long-term outcomes, we need to be proactive about preventive care,” she observes. “I want to be able to do as much as possible to champion this cause because of the far-reaching and long-lasting impacts it will have on our community.”
Mohit, a retina specialist with Virginia Retina Consultants, echoes his wife’s enthusiasm for giving back to the community, and is grateful for the philanthropic vision of Sentara Martha Jefferson. He recalls that back in 2005, when he was considering relocating from Southern California to the East Coast, he was immediately impressed with former hospital President Jim Haden and recognized Sentara Martha Jefferson as “a world-class hospital disguised as a community hospital.” Not only did he choose to practice at this unique institution, but he quickly became a donor as well.
When Mohit was asked to join the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation Board of Directors six years ago, he didn’t hesitate. He encourages other physicians to become involved in supporting the hospital as a professional home, rather than just a clinical office. “If we actively participate in the community aspect of the hospital, we are more likely to be able to affect change,” he says, “and we often get back what we put in.”
When it comes to community giving, Mohit notes: “Philanthropy isn’t simply dollars and cents—it’s a feeling. There’s an intangible benefit to giving. People enjoy this sense of goodwill, and it feels especially rewarding if they know the people it impacts. In the case of Sentara Martha Jefferson, donors can see their own community benefiting.” Adds Bindu: “Giving back to your community hospital is almost self-serving in a way, in that you are likely to be directly impacted by your efforts at some point when you or a loved one is a patient.”
It is clear that Bindu and Mohit are heavily invested both professionally and personally in Sentara Martha Jefferson, and they both take great pride in this valuable local asset. “It’s really a special place,” says Mohit. “We hear repeatedly about the outstanding interactions patients and families have with providers and staff, the excellent quality of care, and even how enjoyable their experiences are. That’s pretty remarkable when you think about it, because often a hospital stay marks a very stressful period in a person’s life. To receive such positive feedback really says a lot.”
Bindu, whose mother was a recent Sentara Martha Jefferson patient for knee-replacement surgery, points out that this tradition of excellence is something the hospital team extends to every patient and family, regardless of circumstance. “The feeling you get as a patient,” she says, “is that we as caregivers are dedicated to taking care of you completely, from the moment you come in until the issue is resolved.”