Trustee, leader in STEM passionate about global ed

Cura Foundation founder and president Robin Smith, MD, calls Sanford Health a 'gem'

Sanford trustee Robin Smith sits with Cardinal at the Vatican Conference.

Robin Smith, M.D., is an accomplished physician, entrepreneur, business leader, author, and philanthropist who resides in New York City, where she grew up.

Her extensive list of both leadership and philanthropic involvement includes both the Sanford Health International Board and the Board of Trustees with which she’s been involved since 2016.

Dr. Smith first met Sanford Health and its leaders through a shared interest in stem cell therapy and innovative opportunities to treat various diseases. She served on the Sanford International Board for four years and was elected to the Sanford Health Board of Trustees in January 2021.

Sanford at the Vatican Conference

Through the genesis of that relationship, Sanford Health was invited to present at the 2018 International Vatican Conference in Rome.

The conference, “Unite to Cure: How Science, Technology and 21st Century Medicine Will Impact Culture and Society,” brought together leaders in health care, science and research from around the world as part of the Cura Foundation conference, which is held every other year in Rome. It was the second time Sanford Health presented at the invite-only event. Dr. Smith is founder and president of the Cura Foundation.

“That was my beginning to understand what this gem Sanford Health is,” Dr. Smith told Sanford Health News.

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“It was a great opportunity to help learn and share with the world what’s going on in Sioux Falls and the upper Midwest.”

As she explained, there was a mutual focus in fostering innovation and keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of health care.

“We needed to figure out how to serve the people, the patients and the community,” she said. “It was very unique how both philanthropy and Sanford’s operational leadership were working together to give tools to both physicians and patients to have more sustainable health and treat diseases as they do occur.”

This relationship helped elevate Sanford’s name on the world stage in research and medicine.

In fact, Sanford Health was awarded the Pontifical Award for Innovation in 2016 for its work within regenerative medicine, STEM cells and game-changing medical innovation exemplified by transformative thinking, creativity and ingenuity used to deliver quality medical care.

Sharing in a mission of health, well-being

With nearly 2 billion Catholics across the world to help educate, Dr. Smith’s team at the Cura Foundation partnered with the Vatican to help break barriers and align focus that religion doesn’t have to come at odds with science – specifically stem cell therapy.

The end goal is to improve the human condition while providing education. That mission is consistent with that of Sanford Health’s, she said, involving service to the community and taking health care outside of the hospital walls to improve lives with prevention.

Dr. Smith’s philosophy, approach as trustee

In addition to that passion for education in regenerative medicine and cellular therapy, Dr. Smith brings medical expertise to the board with specialties in urology and general surgery.

“I’m meeting and working with great people, smart, all with different experiences that are brought to the board as we understand a little bit more about a different community,” Dr. Smith said.

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Her philosophy as a trustee is simple and it focuses on serving the patients effectively with high-quality care.

“It’s not always black and white in health care,” she said. “It’s about health care, well-being and the community and we need to serve the patients in all of those ways as effectively as we can.”

About the Board of Trustees

Sanford Health trustees are elected by the full board and currently serve up to three three-year terms. The Board of Trustees Nominating and Governance Committee is responsible for identifying, evaluating and recommending potential new members based on their qualifications and experience. Trustees represent a broad range of backgrounds, with extensive experience in business and finance, health care, technology and the nonprofit sector.

The Board of Trustees oversees governance for the health system, guiding the pursuit of Sanford’s mission and providing oversight of the organization’s strategic direction and financial and operational performance.

“Just watching the Board grow, serve its communities and bring new innovation and change to health care while improving access around the region and the world,” Dr. Smith added. “I think it is really exciting.”

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Posted In Company News, Corporate Services & Administration, Leadership in Health Care