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History of Mayo Clinic

Edward Kendall, Ph.D., and Philip Hench collaborating in a lab 

Edward Kendall, Ph.D., and Philip Hench, M.D., in Dr. Kendall's laboratory, where they were working when the announcement came that they would share the 1950 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.

Mayo's practice of innovation is not new. It began in the late 1800s when Drs. William and Charles Mayo founded their medical practice around an innovative concept — the integrated team practice. They knew then what we continue to acknowledge today: innovation doesn't happen by chance. Transforming an innovative idea into a practical solution demands process, discipline and focus.

Mayo Clinic understands innovation, and in June 2008 raised the discipline to a new level with the launch of the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation (CFI). Housed on the 16th floor of the Gonda building, its mission is to transform the experience and delivery of health care and to make these discoveries and solutions available for all people, not just Mayo Clinic patients.

Mayo Innovation — A Primer

  • 1907: Centralized medical record and registration system
  • 1914 – present: Applied architecture, art, and landscaping as key to healing environment
  • 1920: Created microscope grading system for grading cancers
  • 1930s – present: Contributed to advances in aviation medicine
  • 1939 – 1942: Researched thiamine deficiency, which led to the enrichment of flour and bread with key nutrients
  • 1945: Established first disciplined scientific laboratory principles of medical drug evaluation
  • 1950: Mayo staff members received Nobel Prize for discovering cortisone
  • 1955: Performed open-heart surgery, which led to advances in cardiac bypass operations
  • 1957: Designed circular nursing unit to improve patient care
  • 1966: Built Rochester Epidemiology Project — a system for medical research
  • 1969: Performed first Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved total hip replacement
  • 2001: Developed new DNA test for rapid anthrax diagnosis
  • 2002: Implemented early use of robotic laparoscopic surgery
  • 2005: Formalized Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Genomics, with University of Minnesota
  • 2008: Opened Center for Innovation
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