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Published July 20, 2010, 08:58 AM

New name and outlook for former MeritCare hospitals

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - MeritCare and its familiar heart logo is no more. The merger with Sanford Health, which started back in November, became official today. Complete with a new name and new outlook.

It was a day of new beginnings at the Sanford Health downtown campus. Hospital leaders spoke to thousands of the now-unified employees in Fargo, outlining a focus on expansion and delivering the highest care under the name Sanford, a name kept in honor of a $400-million dollar donation to the Sioux Valley Health System in Sioux Falls back in 2007.

"I couldn't be prouder than to have my name associated with it and to see it expand in Fargo and all of the areas connected with what was MeritCare."

"He's clearly invested in us and continues to inspire us."

It will take a couple million dollars to switch out all the old MeritCare logos with the new Sanford design, but the high level of care will stay the same with a new focus on education, research, and Denny Sanford's passion; pediatrics.

"I kind of look at this as the Mayo for children, that's what we'd kind of like to become."

Sanford officials say education and research will be furthered through cooperative efforts with NDSU, Concordia, and the University of North Dakota. They will help research cures for diseases like cancer and diabetes.

One name that won't change in this merger is The Roger Maris Cancer center, which they hope to keep expanding and developing.

"Right now it's very overcrowded. Its success has created a burden on it, so we're real anxious to see where we can go."

As the maroon is phased out with the new blue theme, Sanford will be moving forward to win the trust of the community under a new name and an expanding presence.

"It's an organization that I can trust and respect, which is at the base of every good relationship."

And today, the first baby was born under the new unified Sanford Health. Zoey Jeanette Miller was welcomed by her parents Andy and Sarah Miller. The Millers received a Sanford baby blanket and onesie in celebration.

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