Sanford, Dakota State University partner on CyberHealth

Organizations say strategic alliance will help develop cyber workforce

An alliance announced by Sanford Health and Dakota State University looks to grow both organizations and the economies they're located in.

Sanford Health and Dakota State University have announced a strategic alliance.

The alliance will partner the strengths of both organizations in an effort to expand the cyber workforce, create new methods of health care delivery, and propel economic development, representatives from the organizations say.

Two tech leaders

Dakota State University is a nationally recognized leader in cyber security. Sanford Health’s commitment to health care technology and research makes the alliance an ideal fit for both organizations.

“We really believe it’s so much bigger than a traditional partnership. We’re both innovative organizations. We have similar needs, and we’re both growing. We have similar aspirations and interests,” said José-Marie Griffiths, president of Dakota State University.

“And, also have complementary capabilities. We thought if we brought them together, perhaps we could achieve more together than we do individually,” she added.

Josh Robinson is the chief information officer at Sanford Health. He says conversations between the organizations originated over workforce, but quickly grew from there.

“DSU is a great asset that the state of South Dakota has. A lot of the young people graduating from there were leaving the state after graduation. I was personally frustrated with that, because I felt we had a real need for technology talent here at Sanford. I wanted those young people to stay in the state and think of Sanford Health first.

“So, we started having those conversations with DSU, and quickly realized both organizations have a lot to offer one another outside of talent. Even though talent is one of the core tenets to this alliance, there’s a lot more to it,” said Robinson.

Benefits of partnership

As Dakota State University president Griffiths alluded to, both organizations are already growing. But, this alliance will help both grow even more.

“Sanford Health wants to expand its technical personnel, people who understand computers and technology and all the new things that are coming in cyber security, artificial intelligence, and data analysis. So, we can graduate people who could then go straight into careers at Sanford Health,” she said.

“I’m excited because I think we will see our students and faculty having opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have. I’m also excited by the fact that this is really going to help Madison, Sioux Falls, and South Dakota,” added Griffiths.

Related: Technology drives business solutions, says CIO Josh Robinson

Robinson says with DSU’s resources, Sanford’s technology team will see benefits.

“Having their faculty, researchers and students right alongside of us in our operations center, learning and influencing how we do things, is going to continue to push us to be world class.”

He says this alliance could help Sanford Health for years to come.

“We could become a destination and a center of excellence where other health systems come to learn the best practices in cyber security, and cyber health related matters,” said Robinson.

“I also see it getting to the point where we are world class, and it’s recognized across the nation, and we become a service provider. We could offer those cyber security and cyber health programs and services to other health systems.”

Economic impact

Both Robinson and Griffiths say they’re looking forward to seeing the benefits play out for both organizations, but also in the economy.

“I think there’s going to be certainly hundreds, potentially thousands of new jobs that’ll be created in the next several years as an output of this alliance.

“Many of those jobs are going to be filled by people that are here today, but would have otherwise left. And, a lot of jobs are going to be filled by people who are new to the region,” Robinson said.

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