The age of scientific medicine was unfolding as Drs. William J. Mayo and Charles H. Mayo graduated from medical school in the 1880s. Like other physicians, they sought a better understanding of new insights. Advanced teaching clinics were springing up in major American cities. These activities usually featured some gifted physician or surgeon who accepted visitors for limited periods. The Mayos discovered that the quality of these programs varied greatly.
Consequently, the brothers soon established a systematic pattern of traveling to the sources of new medical knowledge. In the spring, Dr. Charlie would take a trip either in America or abroad to visit some physician or medical center that held the promise of new information. Following Dr. Charlie's return, Dr. Will journeyed in the fall to another location. The Mayos followed this pattern for most of their careers. The idea of traveling around the world to learn from medical colleagues was spurred by their father, Dr. William Worrall Mayo.
Mayo Clinic continues to maintain this international perspective today through intellectual exchanges focused on patient care, research and education.