Sanford Health creates $1M medical research award

Sanford Health is creating a $1 million global medical research prize to honor advancements in medicine, one of the largest philanthropic awards in the world.

Officials with the health care company shared details about the Lorraine Cross Award on Wednesday, the Argus Leader reported .

"We're so close to solving some big problems and maybe our elbow is what is needed to shove them over the edge," said Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford.

A review panel of medical experts will assess medical achievements early next year, said David Pearce, president of Sanford Research. Sanford doctors and researchers won't be eligible because the company's philanthropic branch, the Sanford Foundation, wants to spur discoveries outside its system.

"Sanford Research is about developing cures and treatments, we want other people to join our club," Pearce said. "We want to acknowledge others that get things done just like us."

The prize amount will make the award one of the largest in the world, even topping the Nobel Peace Prize's more than $923,000 award. The award money's purpose is up to the recipient.

"We really want to just reward and award the people that get things done," said Micah Aberson, chief global brand officer for Sanford. "I want to believe that the winners ... are going to use those resources to propel and catalyze their initiatives."

Sanford officials hope offering an award will encourage researchers and physicians to push more boundaries and make meaningful scientific discoveries beyond the borders of Sioux Falls.

"Out here on the frontier, we're getting something done, we're finishing things," Krabbenhoft said. "That's what we want to honor with this award, it's not just one more award, one more blue ribbon to someone who does something significant, but someone who really finishes something, cures something."

The prize will be a continuing award presented every other December starting next year.


Information from: Argus Leader,