FARGO - Sanford Health and the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute (NRI) in Fargo will merge, combining NRI with Sanford Research.

NRI will now have access to Sanford's clinical resources, according to a news release, allowing for expanded research to enhance potential treatments.

"By partnering with Sanford, we are able to advance the work we are doing to help make a significant difference for people," said Dr. Stephen Wonderlich, NRI president and scientific director, who will now be a vice president of Sanford Research in Fargo. "We are proud to become a part of an organization that is making strides in health care advancements, treatments and cures."

The partnership will expand Sanford's research efforts, including a goal of establishing a major research program in Fargo.

"This is just the beginning for our vision of expanded research capabilities and opportunities in Fargo," said Nate White, executive vice president of Sanford Fargo.

Over the last 20 years, NRI has focused on eating disorders, obesity and outcomes of bariatric surgery. The research group was established in 1955 and has collaborated closely and shared resources with Sanford since 1961.

NRI's employees will join Sanford and continue to work from the same location at 120 Eighth St. S. in downtown Fargo.