Thursday, April 17, 2008

New Research Facility to Tackle a "Pressing Health Issue"

Yours truly does some occasional work for Sanford/University of South Dakota Medical Center. The email message below went out to Sanford employees today. Note the four health issues being considered as targets for major funding and a new research facility, and pray for God's guidance as to which one can be best addressed here:

To the Sanford family:

The goal of the Sanford Project is to resolve one of the most pressing health issues of our day. As you likely recall, the Sanford Project is one of four initiatives outlined by Sanford Health after a tremendous gift of $400 million by Mr. Denny Sanford in February 2007. Today, the Sanford Project Advisory Council met to provide insight to help Sanford Health choose a health issue.

Thirteen individuals participated in today’s dialogue with representatives from Sanford Health and Battelle Technology, an independent consulting firm hired to identify the selection process. Each member of the Sanford Project Advisory Council was chosen based on their broad and applicable knowledge in the worlds of health research, disease and translational medicine.

The Sanford Project Advisory Council discussed four potential health issues:
• Lupus - Curing Lupus by enabling the effective targeting of existing and new therapeutics using individualized medicine approaches
• Type 1 Diabetes - Curing Type 1 Diabetes through beta cell regeneration and transplantation
• HPV - Curing human papillomavirus (HPV) related diseases through development of a therapeutic vaccine
• Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis - Advancing the treatment of pediatric Multiple Sclerosis by repurposing adult therapies using molecular pharmacology and biomarker research.

Sanford Health will announce which one of these health issues will be the focus of the Sanford Project on June 6 during Festival week.

J. Mark Johnston
Vice President Administration and Corporate Communications


David Handy+ said...

Since I moved back to Virginia from Sioux Falls after my mother died in 2005, I didn't know the extent of the extremely generous gift that Mr. Sanford made to the medical center that I always knew as "Sioux Valley Hospital." I was born there back in 1955, when the medical campus was much, much smaller than it is now.

$400 million? Wow. That's a ton of money. I can't help but think how far even a small fraction of that money would go in Africa or other parts of the poor Global South. Just $4 million would revolutionize health care in some place like Uganda or Kenya where so many people lack even very basic health care.

But I don't begrudge Sioux Falls this tremendous gift. Move over Mayo Clinic. There's another great medical center on the northern plains now.

If I recall correctly, Mr. Sanford made his fortune in banking. Wasn't he the founder and CEO of First Premier Bank? And wasn't he a fairly devout Roman Catholic? Or am I remembering wrong?

TLF+ said...

Hi, David+,

I know he made his money on the credit card side of things. Not one of my favorite businesses but I'm certainly pleased that so much money is going to something good.

An entire new Children's Hospital is going up at Lake & 22nd, next to the existing hospital campus. Should open in '09. And other major expansions are planned in Sioux Falls.

Also, he is going to open several other Children's Hospitals in other states and I think at least one overseas.

About his faith, I don't know for sure where he worships.