Rochester, Minnesota Clinical Profile


The research efforts of Christopher J. Boes, M.D., focus on the history of neurology and medicine, the history of Mayo Clinic graduate medical education, and the diagnosis and treatment of headache disorders. He analyzes primary sources to answer questions in the history of neurology and medicine, situating the topic in time and place. Dr. Boes embraces biography and strongly supports the assertion by medical historian Dr. Jacalyn Duffin that biography "serves up history in human doses."

Focus areas

  • History of neurology and medicine. Dr. Boes is a physician-historian who conducts archival research on the history of neurology and medicine, mining primary source materials and concentrating on the nineteenth and twentieth century, with a special focus on Drs. William Gowers, William Osler, Bayard Horton, Mary Walker and Harry Lee Parker.
  • History of Mayo Clinic graduate medical education. Dr. Boes has researched the origins of graduate medical education at Mayo Clinic and published one of the most comprehensively researched histories of a single residency program. His research highlighted the contributions of Mayo Clinic to American graduate medical education. He also clarified the roles of the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Blindness and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the evolution of the Mayo Clinic Neurology Residency Program and outlined the reasons why that program has been successful.
  • Diagnosis and treatment of headache disorders. Dr. Boes researches the clinical symptoms and treatment of common and uncommon headache disorders, including migraine and the trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias.

Significance to patient care

History teaches humility, which is an important trait for a physician to possess. A study of the history of medicine is humbling when one realizes that accepted medical dogma is often proven incorrect and replaced by new dogma based on additional scientific facts. An improved knowledge of history gives providers a critical perspective on contemporary medicine and encourages healthy skepticism regarding medical dogma. Reflecting on the worldviews of earlier societies teaches one to see the world through different eyes, which is important when one takes care of patients. An understanding of how past events have shaped our own times can help us make informed decisions about our future. A working knowledge of the history of medicine enhances the education of students, residents and colleagues, thus improving patient care.

Professional highlights

  • Designated institutional official, Mayo Clinic, 2022-present.
  • Member, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Review Committee for Neurology, Mayo Clinic, 2022-present.
  • President, American Osler Society, 2022-present.
  • Medical director, W. Bruce Fye Center for the History of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2014-present.
  • Lecturer, Herbert Rosenbaum History of Neurology, Oregon Health & Science University, 2020.
  • Chair, American Academy of Neurology History of Neurology Section, 2015-2017.
  • Lawrence C. McHenry Award for excellence in history of neurology research, American Academy of Neurology, 2014, 2017.
  • Lecturer, John McGovern History of Medicine, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, England, 2016.
  • Lloyd E. Hayes Lecturer, University of South Carolina, 2014.
  • Lecturer, Sylvan E. Stool History of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 2014.
  • Residency-Fellowship Program Director Recognition Award, American Academy of Neurology, 2013.
  • Benjamin Shapiro Lecturer, Department of Neurology, University of Minnesota, 2012.


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Department of Neurology
  2. Associate Chair of Education, Department of Neurology
  3. Chair for Education, Department of Neurology

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of History of Medicine
  2. Professor of Neurology


  1. Fellow The Headache Group, Institute of Neurology, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, UK
  2. Chief Resident - Adult Neurology Mayo Clinic in Rochester
  3. Resident - Adult Neurology Mayo Clinic in Rochester
  4. Resident Neurology, Programs in Rochester, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  5. Internship - Internal Medicine University of Nebraska College of Medicine
  6. MD - High Distinction University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska, Omaha
  7. BS Creighton University

Clinical Studies

Learn about clinical trials that address specific scientific questions about human health and disease.

Explore all research studies at Mayo Clinic.


See the peer-reviewed findings I have published as a result of my research.

Review publications.

Mayo Clinic Footer