Rochester, Minnesota Clinical Profile


Kerry D. Olsen, M.D., is a senior head and neck surgeon who operated for more than 35 years at Mayo Clinic and is now a member of the Division of Medical Otolaryngology. His research focuses on understanding the behavior of rare and common head and neck tumors, the impact of nasal obstruction on sleep disturbance, and the role of individual behaviors on overall well-being.

Focus areas

  • Head and neck oncology. Dr. Olsen conducts clinically focused studies on the diagnosis, behavior, management and treatment outcomes of several types of head and neck tumors. Based on his past surgical experience and current interests, he mainly studies oropharyngeal, oral cavity, salivary gland and larynx tumors and tumors of the para-pharyngeal and infratemporal fossa areas. His investigations examine the common — but especially the rare and unusual — lesions found in these locations.
  • Leadership development. Dr. Olsen is developing and teaching optimal approaches to mentoring and leadership in health care organizations.
  • Healthy living. Dr. Olsen focuses on understanding the role of healthy living behaviors and the impact of those behaviors on overall thriving and survival coupled with quality of life for patients with head and neck cancers and for everyone.

Significance to patient care

Dr. Olsen's research has always focused on improving understanding of recommended behaviors and optimal treatment for patients with head and neck malignancies. He has been a strong proponent for managing cancers when necessary, with the role of surgery to maximize cure and minimize complications.

He has championed the importance of healthy behavior to strengthen patients' immune systems and improve their ability to prevent cancer recurrence after treatment, prevent new cancers, and live happy and healthy lives.


Administrative Appointment

  1. Emeritus, Department of Otorhinolaryngology

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Otolaryngology


  1. Fellow - Facial Plastic Surgery Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
  2. MS - Degree in Otolaryngology; Nasal Obstruction and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (thesis title) University of Minnesota
  3. Resident - Otolaryngology Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  4. Internship - General Surgery Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  5. MD - Member first graduating class Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  6. BA - Major - Economics; Phi Beta Kappa Northwestern University

Clinical Studies

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