Do Good Works

A new class of Mayo Medical School graduates receives words of wisdom, while Mayo Clinic sets a national vision for medical education

By Mayo Clinic Staff

"If there is an oxymoron in America, it's a 'humble anchorman,' " quipped Tom Brokaw, who helmed "NBC Nightly News" for 21 years. "But this is truly a humbling experience."

He had just received Mayo Clinic's first honorary degree — Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) — in recognition of his career as a distinguished journalist and best-selling author, his significant contributions to the preservation of history through the arts, his dedication to public service, and his exemplary service to Mayo Clinic, where he has served as a trustee since 2008.

Recently, Brokaw and fellow Mayo Clinic trustees endorsed a plan to expand Mayo Medical School and transform the curriculum. Soon the medical school will have a national presence with students based in Arizona and Minnesota and will offer learning opportunities throughout Mayo Clinic in Florida, the Mayo Clinic Health System and the national Mayo Clinic Care Network.

The new model will include the Science of Health Care Delivery, which teaches students to apply systems engineering principles to health care. The goal is to educate more students in the Mayo Clinic Model of Care so the next generation of physicians will have the tools to alter health care delivery, which is essential, as experts predict health care costs will make up nearly 20 percent of the gross domestic product in seven years.

At the spring 2013 commencement, Brokaw challenged these emerging physicians and scientists to build, strengthen and renew the physician-patient relationship. He also spoke about the social commitment of these graduates.

"You are the best-educated, innovative generation of physicians," Brokaw said. "You are leaving here carrying the Mayo banner of the finest health care system in the world. Wherever you go and when you talk about your association with Mayo Clinic, people will sit up a little nearer and will stand a little taller because (Mayo) is emblematic of excellence ... I urge you to go forth and heal as a physician, (as a scientist) and as a citizen.

"You have earned a special place in our common community. You should go out and make a buck, but also remember — make a difference."