Inside The World Of Imagenetics: Sanford Health To Open New Building

In 2014, T. Denny Sanford donated $125 million to establish the Imagenetics Program at Sanford Health. Three years later, the 100,000-square-foot building dedicated to the program is almost complete.

If the video board on the outside doesn’t get your attention, one step inside the Imagenetics building on 22nd Street and Grange Avenue in Sioux Falls will. The center of the facility features floor to ceiling windows and built in stairs for gatherings and lectures. Cubes that form a double helix dangle from above; not just for looks, but a learning tool for the public.

“When you come to the courtyard and visit us, you can interact on a kiosk, and it will light up unique to you so you can kind of have that interaction and realize that your DNA is unique to you and what makes you… you,” said Sanford Health Imagenetics Director of Initiatives Joe Kippley.

Visitors will quickly learn what the term Imagenetics means.

“The term Imagenetics is ‘I M internal medicine’ and ‘genetics’, so in this building, we’re combining internal medicine or primary care and genetics,” said Kippley.

Imagenetics is a first-of-its-kind program in the country that integrates genomics into internal medicine for adults.

“Initially, you see it in the genetics setting, because that’s where genetic disease may first present itself, but as our knowledge has grown we are starting to better recognize genetic conditions in adults too,” said Sanford Health Imagenetics Geneticist Dr. Catherine Hajek.

The building will soon house dialysis, a primary care internal medicine clinic with 60 exam rooms, genetic counselors, and a genetics laboratory.

“A physician that wants to prescribe a drug for you might also order a genetic test, so he gives you the right drug and the right dose that’s unique to your genetic makeup for how you’ll metabolize that drug,” said Kippley.

With better access to testing and more affordability Sanford Health hopes it will one day become the new normal in health care. The clinic will open to patients in early October.

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