In the fall of 1916 when the days of American neutrality in the First World War appeared to be numbered, the general medical board of the Council for National Defense was organized and Dr. Will Mayo was made a member of its executive committee, with Dr. Charlie as his alternate.
Although the Mayo brothers had supposed that, of course, they would serve with the medical forces at the front in France, the authorities in Washington saw other uses for their abilities.
They were asked to act as general advisors to Surgeon General William C. Gorgas, and they agreed to do so.
Their principal task was, "to ensure and maintain, as far as possible, the proper standard of character and professional ability in the medical men taken into medical service -- about 40,000 of them -- and to plan ways and means for their special training. In addition to examining draftees and managing the war training school, Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie had agreed to provide short courses for incoming members of the medical corps to bring them quickly abreast of the latest developments in medicine and surgery". -Helen Clapesattle, The Doctors Mayo
Through every major conflict since the First World War, Mayo Clinic has actively supported the military, its service members, and our own active-duty staff and veterans.
Encompassing work in aerospace medicine, vestibular research, assistive and restorative technology, chronic pain, tissue engineering, and biomaterials, Mayo Clinic has made significant contributions in military medical research.
Military Medicine at Mayo Clinic is a three-shield, enterprise-wide initiative across our Arizona, Florida, and Rochester campuses. By integrating and coordinating education, research, and practice to create real-world solutions, Mayo Clinic is committed to becoming the most trusted and effective collaborator with our service member colleagues.
The stated goals of Mayo Clinic Military Medicine include to develop and execute outstanding educational programs, to partner with the Department of Defense, internal and external collaborators, and agencies to increase research Department of Defense funding and to find practice-related health care solutions for military and federal agency members, and to showcase and support Mayo Clinic's involvement with the military.
Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie's commitment to military service in the waning days of American neutrality in World War One, set the foundation for Mayo Clinic's ongoing collaboration with the military.
Their efforts resulted in the research into and training on the latest developments in medicine and surgery by integrating and coordinating real-world solutions and products developed by outstanding clinicians.
That cooperative spirit remains at the heart of Military Medicine at Mayo Clinic today.