Sanford Health at a glance: Nov. 29, 2018

News and notes about the organization, its people and industry.

By: Jared Leighton .

Sanford Center exterior
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Bemidji, Minnesota, fundraiser for Edith Sanford Breast Center

As part of breast cancer awareness month, the Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota Foundation sponsored a Luncheon of Hope event, an annual fundraiser for our Edith Sanford Breast Center and our mammography service. Nearly 200 attendees heard testimonial from breast cancer survivors and had a style show of survivors. Last year, this event raised enough funds to support 300 individuals who lack the resources to pay for their mammography. It is a very well-received event and heightens the awareness of Edith programs in the region.

New infusion center opens at RMCC

The new Infusion Center at Roger Maris Cancer Center opened on Monday, Oct. 8. There are now 40 infusion chairs, an increase from 30 in the old space. The new space is located in the previous emergency department at Broadway, and the space is completely transformed. Staff worked throughout the weekend to prepare the space and move supplies and equipment. Both staff and patients are enjoying the updated space. Reaction from patients has been extremely positive.

First Military and Veteran Scholarship awarded

Ashley Laine, an NDSU nursing student, was surprised Oct. 17 in a morning class with the first-ever Military and Veteran Scholarship from Sanford Health in the amount of $5,000. Ashley is a staff sergeant and works as an analyst for the Air National Guard; she has been deployed overseas. In 2016, she received North Dakota’s Airman of the Year award. She was recognized not only for her service and leadership but for her academic accomplishments and her volunteer work. Ashley has made the Dean’s List every semester while also devoting time to the Good Samaritan Society and the Salvation Army. Ashley is truly among the best of those serving our country, though the field was filled with incredible candidates for this award. She was greatly appreciative, saying, “I was so thrilled, I could have cried.”

Tissue engineering study published

Limited sources of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) can restrict artificial graft applications to treat vascular disease. Patrick Kelly and his Sanford Health Innovations team co-authored a study investigating strategies to differentiate human bone marrow–derived mesenchymal stem cells into vascular smooth muscle-like cells for tissue engineering. These data were published in Material Science & Engineering.

Sanford Health remains primary enrollment site for WISDOM Study

The WISDOM (Women Informed to Screen Depending On Measures of risk) study opened at Sanford Health in November 2017, and the organization remains one of leading enrollment sites. WISDOM is a randomized trial comparing the safety and effectiveness of risk-based breast cancer screening to annual screening. Participants are randomized to personalized screening based on several risk factors: medical history, genetics result, family history, breast density and results from previous biopsy. Those on the annual arm will get one mammogram a year. Access and enrollment to the study is done by the patient through their home computer. The study is based out of University of California in San Francisco, led by Dr. Laura Esserman. Sanford Health is of one of seven sites participating in this nationwide study and the only site outside of California. The Sanford leading investigators are Dr. Andrea Kaster and Dr. Melinda Talley.

SD SHAPE Convention

Sanford fit partnered with the Society for Health and Physical Educators of South Dakota (SD SHAPE) to host the annual SD SHAPE Convention at the Pentagon in Sioux Falls. Over 100 attendees from across the state attended educational sessions focused on physical education and wellness. SHAPE is a group of professionals collaborating to promote active lifestyles. Sanford fit is a proud partner of SHAPE locally and nationally and will be participating in state conferences for Nebraska, Missouri and Minnesota in the next two weeks.


  • … to Sanford Bismarck, which was presented with platinum recognition by LifeSource for activities to increase enrollment in the state registry for organ, eye and tissue donors.
  • … to Sanford Fargo, which was recognized by LifeSource for Excellence in Donation for 2017–2018 at the North Dakota Hospital Association meeting.
  • … to Adam Johnston, RN, Sanford Emergency Department–Fargo, who was the opening speaker on Sept. 26 at the National Emergency Nurses Association Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He spoke to an audience of more than 3,500 people about Millennials in the workforce.
  • … to Perham Health, which has been awarded the Most Wired Hospital Award for the fifth year in a row. The award is sponsored by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). Very few critical access hospitals achieve this status. This is possible in large part due to the relationship with Sanford.
  • … to Diana Berkland, PhD, RN, FAAN, who was selected into the American Academy of Nursing 2018 Class of New Fellows at the Transforming Health, Driving Policy Conference held in Washington, D.C., this month. The Academy is currently composed of more than 2,500 nurse leaders. Diana has served in various nursing leadership and executive roles with Sanford for the past 30 years and is currently the Vice President of Nursing and Clinical Services. Space constraints don’t allow me to go into her countless accomplishments, but trust me when I say that she has had a major impact across a large geographic area. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor!
  • … to Jill Weimer, who recently served as a peer reviewer for the NIH Neurodevelopment, Synaptic Plasticity, and Neurodegeneration study section. Dr. Weimer reviewed research training fellowship applications from medical students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

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