Sioux Falls-based program treats 1M people, looks to expand
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — International clinics run by a Sioux Falls medical facility have treated a million patients, a milestone for the decade-old program.
Sanford Health's World Clinic program began after philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $400 million in 2007, the Argus Leader reported.
World Clinic Program Director Dr. Dan Blue says the program initially focused on pediatric care in the U.S., but has expanded internationally.
Sanford officials said the 25-clinic program is considering a new partnership in New Zealand, up to 300 additional clinics in Ghana and new clinics in other countries.
"We're not prescriptive in terms of our agenda in any given country," said Micah Aberson, who provides oversight of the World Clinic program as Sanford's chief global brand officer. "We're opportunistic as we pursue potential new locations, making sure it serves the need at the local level."
Blue said a key part of the program's growth is providing sustainable medical care in the area, regardless of whether funding comes from donations or through a relationship with the country's government. He said visiting the new Sanford clinic in China gave him a different perspective of the health care scene compared to what he's used to in the U.S.
"When you go into a culture, you have to respect that culture. It really isn't something you throw a switch and change it overnight. We have to work with them, and it's going to take some time," he said. "Where are the paths that get us to a better state? Those are, for us, learning moments, that we can understand from their view what their needs are."