In 1949, a group of Wichita physicians met at the home of Dr. Bert Stofer to organize the Wichita Foundation of Medical Research to further medical science by investigative pursuits, and the advancement of knowledge in medicine.
The group hoped to ultimately provide laboratory equipment and facilities to carry out research projects.
The first meeting for incorporation was on November 20, 1949. Those who signed the incorporation papers were: Phillip Cooper MD; Ernest W. Crow MD; Leo K. Crumpacker MD; James S. Hibbard MD; Gerhart R. Tonn MD; Donald P. Trees MD; Charles K. Weir MD.; and Bert E. Stofer MD.
In 1959 the name of the Wichita Foundation of Medical Research changed to Wesley Medical Research Institutes.
Even though the program was later developed and centered at Wesley Medical Center, the services and assistance of the Research Institutes were made available to all medical practitioners, medical residents and other recognized medical and scientifically-qualified investigators residing in the Wichita area.
In the fall of 2001, the Board of Directors voted to change the name once again to Wichita Medical Research & Education Foundation (WMREF). The change reflects the emphasis on supporting and funding medical research and medical continuing education in Wichita and throughout the state.
The current President of WMREF is William Hendry PhD, Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Wichita State University. WMREF's Scientific Director is Thomas R Kluzak MD, MMM head of pathology for Via Christi Medical Center who also serves as the Institutional Review Board Chair for Via Christi. WMREF's Medical Director is Jed Delmore MD, who serves as the Chair of the WMREF Institutional Review Board and is in private practice as a Gynecological Oncologist.