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Lakes Country Service Cooperative recognized

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has recognized Lakes Country Service Cooperative in Fergus Falls, Minn., as one of 12 trailblazers helping to move health forward in their communities.

Lakes Country Service Cooperative was chosen for its Fresh Connect Food Hub project. The project brings locally grown, fresh food to schools, nursing homes and nonprofits in its nine-county service area.

WEX named Great Place to Work

Fargo-based WEX Inc., a provider of corporate payment solutions, recently announced that it has been certified as a "Great Place to Work" in 2017 by Great Place to Work.

The certification is based on the results of a trust index survey of 2,047 employees, or more than 80 percent of its global workforce. On key metrics, employees were positive about the WEX workplace and culture, including atmosphere, pride, communication, bosses, challenges and rewards.

WEX has numerous programs in place to support culture, philanthropy and wellness. Programs include a fully-paid one month sabbatical for tenured employees, a company-wide wellness program that includes six weeks of parental leave for both mothers and fathers, on top of standard U.S. leave, and two paid days a year to be used as "Volunteer Time Off" to give back to the community.

Red River Financial Group, Physicians National move

Red River Financial Group and Physicians National Financial in Fargo have outgrown their space and moved to a new location. The companies are now located on the second floor of the new Aspire Bank, 5195 45th St. S., Suite 200, in Fargo.

Heritage Insurance Services recognized

Auto-Owners Insurance announced that Heritage Insurance Services of Valley City, N.D., has been named one of the Top 10 growth agencies for the company in the Fargo region for 2016. The agency was recognized at a luncheon in Fargo. Heritage Insurance Services has represented Auto-Owners since 1997.

NDSU, Sanford provide sonography training

Students who want to pursue a career in diagnostic medical sonography or echocardiography will now be able to stay in North Dakota to learn these skills. An existing radiologic sciences major at North Dakota State University and a partnership with Sanford Health allows students in the NDSU Department of Allied Sciences to pursue additional education, without having to seek such specialization outside of the state.

Since 2001, the Department of Allied Sciences at NDSU has affiliated with accredited hospital-based radiologic technology programs. Students become baccalaureate-prepared radiologic technology professionals in fields such as X-ray and MRI. Sanford Health's new sonography programs in echocardiography and diagnostic medical sonography are improving professional courses and career options for radiologic science majors at NDSU.

In this educational partnership, students complete two or more years of prerequisite courses at NDSU, followed by a 21-month full-time internship at Sanford Health Fargo.

All internship classes, scanning labs and clinical experience in echocardiography and diagnostic medical sonography will take place at Sanford. Students will graduate with a bachelor's degree and radiologic sciences from NDSU and can now receive certificates of specialization in radiography, echocardiography or diagnostic medical sonography from Sanford Health. For more information, visit www.ndsu.edu/alliedsciences/radiologic_science.

Clinical treatment at Sanford granted FDA approval

Sanford Health in Fargo was one of several cancer centers that participated in a clinical trial testing the combination of chemotherapy with immunotherapy for first-line treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

The treatment, using Keytruda, also known as pembrolizumab, in combination with pemetrexed and carboplatin, recently was granted U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approval through the accelerated approval program. The Keynote-021 trial enrolled 123 patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-squamous NSCLC, according to a news release from Merck, which manufactures the drug.

Key findings from the study that led to approval included nearly twice as many patients responding to the new immunotherapy combination versus standard chemotherapy (55 percent compared to 29 percent) and a longer duration of disease control. Sanford offered the trial to participants in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Fargo. Dr. Steven Powell in Sioux Falls and Dr. Amit Panwalkar in Fargo were principal investigators on the trial. Both are medical oncologists.

Updated results from the Keynote-021 trial will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in June. The ongoing Keynote-189 study is further evaluating this approach and was also offered at Sanford.

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