Living with cancer blog

Mayo Clinic celebrates 150 years reaching where you are

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. January 23, 2014

Here at Mayo Clinic, we're celebrating 150 years of medical practice in 2014.

It was Dr. William Worrall Mayo who established a medical practice in Rochester, Minn. in 1864. Initially, he was appointed as a surgeon for the Civil War enrollment board and examined recruits for the Union Army. In the 1880's, both his sons, William and Charles graduated from medical school and joined their father in the practice.

In 1883, a devastating tornado swept through the Rochester area, causing many injuries and deaths. Nuns from the Sisters of St. Francis partnered with the Drs. Mayo to care for the wounded in a temporary hospital set up in hotels and office buildings. It was during this point in history that Mother Alfred Moes first thought of the idea of collaborating with the Drs. Mayo to build a hospital in Rochester. Saint Mary's Hospital opened in 1889 as a result of this partnership. At that time, the hospital had 27 beds.

From that time forward, the medical practice grew and the Mayo brothers invited other doctors, administrators and researchers to join them. They continued to foster a new way of practicing medicine — this model included teamwork and collaboration among all members of the care team. This model of collaboration and teamwork continues today.

In 1919, the Mayo brothers turned over the clinic's name and assets forming a private, not-for profit charitable organization, now known as Mayo Foundation. More than 7 million people have been treated at Mayo Clinic since its founding. We continue to practice in a collaborative model with innovation and individual care of each patient as a primary goal.

When I think about our deep history of forward thinking, collaboration and innovation, I can't help but think that the Mayo brothers would be so proud to know that Mayo Clinic now offers ways to reach out to patients where you are — in your homes, through this blog.

I’d love to hear your stories of Mayo Clinic history or your experience as a patient at Mayo Clinic over the years. What would you like to share?


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Jan. 23, 2014