$15 million health care gift announced today

Christmas came early to children in South Dakota and neighboring states today in the form of a $15 million gift by Sioux Falls businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford that will have far-reaching, positive and long-term health impacts on their young lives.

Mr. Sanford’s most recent contribution to the region’s children – through his $15 million gift to the Mayo Clinic announced earlier today in Rochester, MN – will create an outpatient pediatric specialties center at the Mayo Clinic facility named the Mayo Clinic T. Denny Sanford Pediatric Center and endows a collaboration between the pediatric specialists of Mayo Clinic and Sanford Children’s Hospital at Sioux Valley Hospital USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.

“It gives me great pleasure to express my love of children by setting in motion a collaborative relationship between two of the premiere pediatric health care providers in the nation,” said Mr. Sanford. “I believe this research and educational partnership will promote solutions to some of the most vexing health issues that affect youngsters in our region and throughout this nation. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than providing the impetus for efforts that I know have the potential to one day help every young child enjoy the gift of good health and great healthcare services.”

The collaboration between the Mayo Clinic and Sanford Children’s Hospital includes development of elective rotations for residents in pediatrics and pediatric-related specialties, as well as shared research and education projects focused on childhood diseases. The joint effort includes sponsorship of the T. Denny Sanford Pediatric Symposium as an annual event concentrating on the newest medical and surgical care of children, including disseminating results of the two institutions’ collaborative research and treatment efforts. The first symposium is scheduled for May 18-19, 2006 at Sioux Valley on the subject of neonatal intensive care and other pediatric topics.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to play a leading role in translating Mr. Sanford’s interest in and vision for children’s healthcare into practice at Sioux Valley Hospital,” said Becky Nelson, president of Sioux Valley Hospital USD Medical Center. “A collaboration between our pediatric specialists and the pediatric specialists at Mayo Clinic will be mutually beneficial to both institutions as well as to the young patients we serve. Such a partnership affords us yet another creative way to accomplish our mission of being ‘Dedicated to the Work of Healing.'”

With more than 300 specially trained staff and physicians, Sioux Valley’s pediatric facility is the only one in the region with a pediatric interventional cardiologist, a board-certified sleep specialist, a geneticist, a developmental specialist and an anesthesiologist, along with 10 other specialties.

“We expect to learn a great deal through this new relationship with colleagues at Mayo Clinic,” said Larry Fenton, M.D., Chair of the University of South Dakota School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and a Sioux Valley Children’s Specialty Clinic neonatologist. “We also expect they will learn much from us. Clearly this will be a relationship that will help everyone involved better serve children by developing and training pediatric specialists and supporting innovative research, new educational opportunities and other innovative learning experiences for medical staff, patient care team members and medical, nursing and other allied health students.”

Sioux Valley is a comprehensive, integrated health system serving communities in South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska through hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, home health, pharmacies and the largest multi-specialty physician organization between the Mayo Clinic and Denver. Its children’s hospital and specialty clinic touch the lives of more than 21,000 children annually.

“Mayo Clinic has a long tradition of excellence in caring for the medical and surgical needs of children, and this gift will help carry that tradition into the future,” said Robert Jacobson, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Mr. Sanford’s gift to benefit Sioux Valley pediatrics today complements his recent $16 million lead pledge to support construction of the new Sanford Children’s Hospital at Sioux Valley, to break ground in 2007. His gift is currently being matched by other pledges through the Sanford Children’s Challenge Campaign. The first phase of the new Sanford Children’s Hospital, a uniquely designed 58 bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, will open in July of 2006.

Mr. Sanford is chairman of United National Corporation, First Premier Bank and Premier Bankcard, Inc, headquartered in Sioux Falls. He has a longtime, special interest in supporting organizations and groups that focus on the health care needs of children.

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