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Laird Center for Medical Research

The History of the Laird Center for Medical Research

A solid foundation

Marshfield Clinic was built around the premise that physicians could offer greater expertise and provide more comprehensive, high quality care by combining fields of specialty. Since its founding in 1916, Marshfield Clinic has grown into an integrated, not-for-profit health care system where patient care and clinical research specialists collaborate daily.

Marshfield Clinic physicians and scientists have always asked important questions and sought answers to improve human health. They established Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in 1959 to foster an environment in which medical research would enhance patient care.

Marshfield Clinic has established strong human diagnostic and research laboratory capabilities as it has grown. Marshfield Clinic's blend of excellence in medicine, research and education, along with a sophisticated electronic medical record, creates even more opportunities for scientific breakthroughs.

A vision for the future of medical research

Throughout Melvin R. Laird's career in government, he has taken a special interest in medical research. His contributions to medical research have been of historic importance. From the 1940s to the present, he has contributed to the improvement of health care worldwide. During that time, he has confirmed his support of Marshfield Clinic and Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation.

Dedication of the original Laird Center in 1997

The Melvin R. Laird Center was officially dedicated on Friday, September 12, 1997. Hundreds of Mr. Laird's friends and friends of the Marshfield Clinic turned out to help dedicate the building named in his honor, while still over a thousand more toured this remarkable facility. Watch video of Melvin R. Laird Center dedication speakers.

Groundbreaking for the Expanded Laird Center for Medical Research in 2006

The theme of building a safer, healthier future in which medical discoveries move quickly from research to applied patient care permeated the September 8, 2006 groundbreaking ceremony for a significant addition to the Laird Center for Medical Research.

Physicians, researchers and policy makers who share a vision of better health for families and communities took the stage to express support for the work being done at Marshfield Clinic and to hail the promise of the important medical research that takes place in The Laird Center for Medical Research. Watch video from the groundbreaking event.

The potential of the research was symbolized in a roundtable discussion on “The Future of Medicine” that occurred the morning of the building’s groundbreaking. Watch video excerpts from the roundtable discussion.

The dedication of the expanded Laird Center for Medical Research in 2008

The dedication was attended by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle; Seventh District Congressman Dave Obey; Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Elias Zerhouni; former U.S. Congressman Bob Michel; and many other friends of Marshfield Clinic.

Immediately prior to the dedication, Governor Doyle announced the Wisconsin Genomics Initiative (WGI). The vision of WGI is to be able to predict for individual patients in a clinical setting the risks of disease susceptibility and treatment response using the combined power of cutting edge genetic, phenotypic and environmental analysis. It is a historic collaboration among Marshfield Clinic, Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Watch video of announcement.

The day before the dedication, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation (MCRF) hosted a roundtable discussion of "Genetics in the Service of Humanity". The panel was led by The Honorable Louis Sullivan, M.D., former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary. Other participants included:

  • Norman Fost, M.D., professor of pediatrics and bioethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Howard J. Jacob, Ph.D., professor, Department of Physiology, and director, Human and Molecular Genetics Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • Robert G. Kennedy, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Catholic Studies, and professor, Department of Ethics and Business Law, University of St. Thomas
  • Catherine McCarty, Ph.D., M.P.H., interim director, Center for Human Genetics, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation and director, Personalized Medicine Research Project
  • Justin B. Starren, M.D., Ph.D., director, Biomedical Informatics Research Center, MCRF
  • Clive N. Svendson, Ph.D., director, National Institutes of Health-funded Stem Cell Training Program
  • Ellen Wright Clayton, M.D., J.D., Rosalind E Franklin professor of genetics and health policy, director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, and professor of pediatrics and law at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Video from 2008 Laird Dedication Event and Genetics Roundtable

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