Muneer Satter's first interest in medicine wasn't rooted in genomics. It was in seeing the health care needs of his loved ones and of the world's most vulnerable. In his professional life, before making investments in biotech, he sought out the opinions of expert doctors at Mayo Clinic.
"The more I talked to doctors, the more I started gravitating there," the Chicago investor says. "That's when I realized biotech was going to be a big deal."
The Satter Foundation is a Principal Benefactor to Mayo Clinic's mission, supporting the Center for Individualized Medicine's efforts to discover, translate and apply genomic medicine services and products to each patient.
The foundation's support helped the center launch the Individualizing Medicine Conference, which brings together a who's who of leaders in genomic sciences each fall.
In October 2016, more than 1,300 attendees representing health providers, industry and the public came to Rochester, Minnesota, to explore ways to accelerate the advances in genomic medicine into everyday practice.
In its first five years, the conference has drawn an international audience and well-known presenters in the field, including leaders from the National Institutes of Health, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and direct-to-consumer companies such as Helix, 23andMe and Human Longevity.
The past two years, Cathy Wurzer, the host of Minnesota Public Radio's "Morning Edition," has hosted the event.
"I'm amazed by the brainpower in the room both in terms of speakers and attendees," Cathy says. "It is clear to me that Mayo, because of its reputation, can bring in top-notch genomics researchers and other innovators in the field in order to have in-depth, yet accessible conversations."
For Muneer, the commitment to health and education is part of the Satter Foundation's commitment to better the world for all its citizens. He and his wife, Kristen Hertel, formed the foundation in 1997 with the vision of a world where all people — no matter where or in what circumstances they are born — have the resources and opportunities to live a free, educated, prosperous and healthy life.
But the Satter family's first interactions with Mayo Clinic came due to an illness where the family saw firsthand the Mayo Clinic Model of Care at work.
"Mayo is deeply committed to people," says Muneer. "Every time I've been there, the service level has been amazing. It's very, very different from most hospitals. It's really an exceptional experience — a personal experience. Things run on time; things get done correctly. Mayo Clinic works as a team; they talk to each other.
"But, most of all, people care. You feel the caring and compassion for people who are really sick from the moment you come in. It's a special place."
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. This article was originally featured on the philanthropic site "You Are...the campaign for Mayo Clinic."