Denny Sanford, Sanford Health Award $7 Million for Genomic Sequencing

South Dakota businessman T. Denny Sanford and Sanford Health have awarded $7 million to Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami to launch an effort to better understand the health needs of Latino and Hispanic populations.

To that end, Nicklaus Children's Personalized Medicine Initiative will sequence the genes of nearly a thousand Latino and Hispanic pediatric patients and their family members in an effort to help doctors determine which therapies or medications work better for individual children based on their genetics. Information about patients' predisposition to a certain disease or how they might respond to a particular medication will help build a database of common genomes in underrepresented populations such as Latinos and Hispanics, enabling researchers to identify genetic patterns and look for rare diseases in those populations.

In 2014, Sanford committed $125 million to Sanford Health to establish Sanford Imagenetics, a program aimed at integrating genomic medicine into primary care for adults.

"When we approached Denny with a plea to assist our important work at Nicklaus Children's Hospital and through [the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation], he was quick to open his heart and lend a hand," said golf great Jack Nicklaus, in recognition of whose support the hospital was renamed in 2015. "This gift from Denny and Sanford Health will enable groundbreaking research that will hopefully help forever shape pediatric care in South Florida and beyond."

"This generous gift allows us to progress our Personalized Medicine Initiative faster and fill a critical need in genetics," said Narendra Kini, CEO of Miami Children's Health System. "As one of the only personalized medicine programs solely focused on children, this gift will enhance our ability to serve our unique South Florida population and advance care for children throughout Latin America and the world."