Empowering Futures Through Mentorship

Apr 1, 2024 | Team Member Spotlights

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Participating in the Reginald F. Lewis Scholars program is one of many ways our health system is committed to empowering the next generation of healthcare leaders.

The Scholars program is designed to enhance the collegiate experience of Black male students across the University of Louisiana System, provide valuable opportunities for personal and professional growth, and increase the number of Black male college graduates in the state.

In 2023, the Scholars program’s third cohort included six students who completed internships with our health system. We also served as a platinum sponsor of the University of Louisiana’s third annual Black Male Summit with more than 600 students attending.

Bently Senegal, director of mission integration & formation with Our Lady of Lourdes Health, has regularly served as a mentor and champion of the program. In his 23 years with our ministry, Senegal has woven his professional expertise in finance with a profound passion for community service.

Senegal has become the face of the Scholars program, recognizing the parallels between his own journey and the challenges faced by the young scholars. 

“I see myself and the struggles I had,” Senegal says, noting the importance of mentorship and its impact on the lives of young Black men. “I let the young guys know this: Don’t take it for granted. Do what you have to do to make us proud so that our efforts won’t be in vain.”

Senegal emphasizes the importance of imparting life lessons, urging scholars to balance confidence with humility and advocating for perseverance in the face of disappointments.

The impact of the Scholars program is not one-sided, as the interns provide a fresh perspective on healthcare and life. “The interns bless our health system by allowing us to mentor and teach them,” Senegal says. “Our intern this year taught us to take a look back on our upbringing and reminded us why we work in healthcare.”

Reflecting on the mentorship process, Senegal acknowledges the mutual accountability that emerges. The program becomes a space for reciprocal learning and growth, where mentor and mentee contribute to each other’s journeys.

As Senegal continues to mentor new cohorts and witness their successes, he envisions a future where the program thrives. Through partnerships with AT&T and the University of Louisiana System, the Scholars program aims to provide ongoing support and incentives for academic excellence, ensuring that the legacy of empowerment and mentorship endures.

Learn more about our ministry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Dialogue and understanding are the first steps, and at Our Lady of Lourdes Health, we have begun that work through the leadership of our DEI team led by Bently Senegal. We accomplish this through events like the Diversity Walk and highlighting different cultures with monthly celebrations; however, real success comes when it’s a part of the fabric of our daily lives. This comes from knowing one another, appreciating our differences and remaining thoughtful in all that we do. This is a journey that is ever evolving.”

— Stephanie Manson, President, Our Lady of Lourdes Health

Interested in joining the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System team? Learn more here.

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