Press Releases

Children’s Minnesota collaborates with five children’s hospitals to improve pediatric health

Sanford Children’s Genomic Medicine Consortium integrates genomic care and advances research, educational efforts

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL, Minn. — Sept. 14, 2016 – Children’s Minnesota, along with five other children’s hospitals, has signed an agreement to form the Sanford Children’s Genomic Medicine Consortium, a collaboration of children’s hospitals working to advance pediatric genomic medicine.

In addition to setting a new standard for the clinical practice of personalized medicine in children, the consortium will also improve pediatric care through innovative joint research programs and genomic health care workforce development. The combined research capabilities of the member hospitals will expedite genetic and genomic discovery through economies of scale and access to a large, racially and ethnically diverse population. The consortium serves as a focal point for developing relationships with industry and government entities and provides shared training opportunities for physicians, genetic counselors, nurses and other health professionals.

“The collaboration will open a lot of doors for Children’s Minnesota in the areas of genomic medicine and testing” said Gunter H. Scharer, MD, PhD, medical director, Genomic Medicine Program at Children’s Minnesota and a member of the consortium. “Because of this collaboration we will not only have a better chance at federal funding and grants for research, but we’ll have access to genomics teams across the country with different expertise to provide better outcomes for our patients.”

In addition to Children’s Minnesota, founding members include Sanford Children’s, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona.

“Bringing all of these great facilities and brilliant minds together is a major step in improving treatments and finding cures for what ails kids,” said Denny Sanford, the visionary behind the consortium. “There is clear value in bringing these teams together with unified goals and my hope is that it will speed up necessary advancements so children won’t have to suffer.”

The consortium is committed to the betterment of the health of all children through the integration of genomic medicine into pediatric care. Genomic medicine focuses on the use of genetic and genomic information to personalize care for each child, allowing for improved treatment outcomes in a host of common and rare childhood diseases.

“This groundbreaking collaboration among premier children’s hospitals and leaders in genomic and pediatric care will help set the standard for sharing resources and collaborating in research and education in personalized medicine for children,” said Gene Hoyme, M.D., chief of genetics and genomic medicine at Sanford Health and medical director for the Sanford Children’s Genomic Medicine Consortium. “As a pediatric clinical geneticist, I’m excited about the improved clinical outcomes that the consortium’s cutting-edge genomic medical innovations will bring to the millions of young patients served by our members.”

The consortium has also established an external scientific advisory board with representation from industry leaders such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics and the National Human Genome Research Institute to provide guidance on the scientific direction of the group’s efforts. Sanford Health is providing administrative staffing for the consortium.

About Children’s Minnesota

Children’s Minnesota is one of the largest pediatric health systems in the United States and the only health system in Minnesota to provide care exclusively to children, from before birth through young adulthood. An independent and not-for-profit system since 1924, Children’s Minnesota serves kids throughout the Upper Midwest at two free-standing hospitals, 12 primary and specialty-care clinics and six rehabilitation sites. Children’s Minnesota maintains its longstanding commitment to the community to improve children’s health by providing high-quality, family-centered pediatric services and advancing those efforts through research and education. This work is made possible in large part by generous philanthropic and volunteer support from individuals and organizations throughout the state and region. An award-winning health system, Children’s Minnesota is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top children’s hospital and by The Leapfrog Group for quality and efficiency. Please visit childrensMN.org.

Kristin Tesmer