The Mayo Clinic Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation began in 1935 during the early years of our specialty. Those returning from world war and the survivors of polio epidemics created a need for a new type of medical practice, one that focused on the patient as a whole, restoring the patient to their greatest degree of function. The body systems that were deemed most important to daily function were the neurologic, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular systems. Hence, research in our specialty has focused on these areas but in a manner that has allowed us to study the impact of illness and injury on the whole person.

Function and human performance

At Mayo Clinic, “the needs of the patient come first,” and evidence-based practice ensures that each patient receives the best available health care. Our key goal is to restore a person to their highest level of daily function and improve quality of life. Evidence-based practice and scientific discovery are integral to our practice and central themes of research investigation. Because of the many aspects of human performance, our research is truly multidisciplinary and carries basic science information to daily life. Research teams are often comprised of physicians, scientists, nurses, physical, occupational, and speech therapists that collaborate across the department and across the Mayo Clinic.