Snapshot: Kern family gift helps transform health care delivery

Volume 9, Issue 2
Photograph showing the renaming of the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery

Pictured from left to right are Mark J. Hayward, administrator of the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery; benefactors Robert and Patricia Kern; John H. Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO; and Veronique L. Roger, M.D., center director.

Benefactors Robert and Patricia Kern have given $100 million to Mayo Clinic through the years. Of that, more than $87 million has been dedicated to the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, a strategic initiative that uses quality and engineering principles to improve the way patients experience health care.

To honor the Kerns for their enduring generosity, the center has been renamed the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

The Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery builds on more than a century of health care delivery research at Mayo Clinic. The goal of the center is to focus and coordinate resources to analyze, evaluate and implement health care delivery models that improve value for patients.

"Our desire is that the center will establish new standards for more effective, efficient care, bringing the dream of health care for all to reality," Mr. Kern says.

The Kerns gave Mayo Clinic $20 million in 2011 to launch the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. More recently, the Kerns gifted another $67 million for the center, bringing their total gift specifically to the center to about $87 million. The Kerns also have supported neuroscience research and education at Mayo Clinic.

The Kerns' recent gift allows the center to expand operations, endow five scientific director positions and create online education offerings. A portion of this gift also supports concerted efforts to share the center's portfolio of scientifically proven, high-value models of care with health care providers throughout the United States.

"This changes everything," says John H. Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. "With the Kerns' support, Mayo Clinic will re-engineer health care to improve safety, quality and value. Importantly, the Kerns' gift empowers us to share these findings with hospitals, clinics and nursing homes across the country so that patients everywhere get the high-quality, high-value care they need and deserve."

The Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery is led by Veronique L. Roger, M.D., a cardiologist, epidemiologist and outcomes researcher, and Mark J. Hayward, a senior administrator at Mayo Clinic. The Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery is home to leading physicians, researchers, systems engineers, social scientists and other experts who pool collective knowledge to improve diagnosis, treatment and care of patients.

For example, center experts are using telemedicine to provide care to rural stroke patients, studying how to reduce surgical site infections, and creating smart technology that synthesizes and prioritizes medical record information about the sickest patients.

The Kerns' relationship with Mayo Clinic stretches back more than 80 years. Mr. Kern first came to Mayo Clinic in 1930 at age 5. Mr. Kern went on to become a mechanical engineer with an affinity for innovation and harnessed silicon technology to start his own business, Generac Power Systems, in 1959. Based in Waukesha, Wis., the company grew from a two-person operation run from the Kerns' garage into one of the largest manufacturers of generators in the world.