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Sanford Health Announces $125M Gift to Fund Genomic Initiative

Denny Sanford’s gift launches Sanford Imagenetics

(Sioux Falls, SD) – Sanford Health announced today Denny Sanford, the preeminent health care philanthropist in the United States, will gift the organization $125 million to establish Sanford Imagenetics, a first-of-its-kind program in the country that integrates genomic medicine into primary care for adults.

“Mr. Sanford’s generosity to this organization is humbling,” said Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford Health. “Including this $125 million gift, Denny has given Sanford Health nearly a billion dollars. It’s an incredible honor as well as a tremendous responsibility.”

Internal medicine physicians assist adult patients by diagnosing and managing complex health issues. Later this year, Sanford Imagenetics will offer patients the opportunity to undergo precise genetic testing and genetic counseling, which will provide internal medicine physicians with unprecedented patient-specific information. Arming these physicians with their patients’ genetic information will improve their ability to prescribe the right medication, appropriate dose or most effective treatment with drugs such as statins and blood thinners.

“Most physicians can only dream of what it would be like to practice not only on the cutting edge of medical advancement but also working to fundamentally change how patients are treated. The creation of this environment does not occur spontaneously. It requires great leadership and generosity at a level not previously seen,” said Eric Larson, MD, board-certified internal medicine physician with Sanford Health.

Sanford Health has a long-standing history of providing comprehensive genetic health care to the region. With Sanford Imagenetics, Sanford’s MD geneticists, genetic counselors and diagnostic clinical genetics laboratories will move hand in hand with the organization’s internal medicine physicians. There are currently no organizations in the country that similarly embed genetics health care professionals into these primary care practices.

“Thanks to Mr. Sanford’s continued generosity, Sanford Health will take a national lead role in using existing genetic markers and incorporating future discoveries for internists to individualize care for patients with cancer, diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease and other conditions,” said Dan Blue, MD, president of Sanford Clinic.

Sanford Imagenetics will include development of a rigorous research program to define the genomic markers most successful in managing primary care for adults. It will also complement the genomics research underway through Edith Sanford Breast Cancer, another initiative founded through Denny Sanford’s generosity, which is pursuing individualized prevention and treatment strategies for breast cancer.

“We will also study the outcomes to evaluate the efficacy of this approach as well as in-depth bioinformatics research focused on the practical clinical interpretation of the complicated biological data,” said Gene Hoyme, MD, president of Sanford Research and board certified geneticist.

As a part of this initiative, Sanford Health will also have dedicated facilities in all major markets to accommodate implementation of this new program throughout the enterprise.  Depending on the region, these facilities would house the internal medicine practice, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, research, education, and lab services.

Sanford Health has already begun recruiting the best and brightest in the fields of internal medicine and genetics to support Sanford Imagenetics. Additionally, Sanford Imagenetics has developed initial partnerships with Augustana College and the University of South Dakota to develop new academic programs that train the next generation of doctors, nurses and scientists in genomic medicine.

Learn more at sanfordhealth.org/imagenetics.

 

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health is the patient care and research partner of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation. It is the largest rural, nonprofit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities, in nine states.

 

About the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation

The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation is pioneering a bold new comprehensive approach to breast cancer, with a mission to unlock each woman’s genetic code, advance today’s prevention and treatment, and end breast cancer for future generations.