Pulse on Health: A year packed with health-related events

Looking back at everything we've reported in the Post-Bulletin related to health or health care is a tad mind-boggling this year.

In January, Olmsted Medical Center's Northwest Clinic showed off its brand-new $3.3 million Sports Medicine and Athletic Performance Facility.

In February, Mayo Clinic announced it would collaborate with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx on a new sports-training center in Minneapolis at what is now called "Mayo Square," part of a $50 million makeover of "Block E" in Minneapolis.

In March, the Post-Bulletin broke the story of the contract for newborn blot-spot screenings being given by by the Minnesota Department of Health to a Pennsylvania company instead of to Mayo Medical Laboratories, which had long been the only entity aside from the Department of Health itself to test newborn bloodspots. Mayo Clinic's testing lab had handled nearly 700,000 tests in the previous decade without a single misplaced specimen.

In April, the Post-Bulletin featured a study in humans by Mayo Clinic scientists who are using stem cells to see if they can curb the effects of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, 75 years after the baseball great was diagnosed at Mayo in Rochester.


In May, Mayo Clinic celebrated 150 years since Dr. W.W. Mayo first advertised his medical services in Rochester, and the clinic's "Signature Event" drew 5,000 invitation-only Mayo patients, employees, benefactors and invited guests. Congratulatory video messages came in from the Dalai Lama, Iowa State University head basketball coach Fred Hoiberg, former first lady Nancy Reagan, former Mayo Clinic Board trustee and first lady Barbara Bush, and President Barack Obama.

That same month of May, the clinic announced it would build a "major sports-medicine expansion" at its Rochester Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center and become an elite hockey-training center.

In July, Mayo researchers reported in the journal The Lancet Oncology that proton therapy produces better outcomes than traditional therapy for rare cancers low in the skull, ones often involving the nasal cavity close to nerves, the eyes, large blood vessels and brain, adding another group of cancers likely to be treated at the clinic's recently completed Proton Center.

That same month of July, Mayo Clinic, for the first time, was ranked the No. 1 hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

In September, a Mayo physician announced plans for a new Mayo Transgender and Intersex Specialty Care Clinic.

During the year, the community dealt with outbreaks of illnesses like whooping cough, influenza, norovirus and tuberculosis. Health providers also dealt with low supplies of blood, especially O-negative.

By November, drills were underway, with first responders practicing how to respond if someone arrives in Rochester with symptoms of Ebola virus.

Also in November, Olmsted Medical Center Hospital opened its new $25 million Women's Pavilion renovation and addition, doubling the hospital's space.


In December, Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center announced it will change its name to Zumbro Valley Health Center, dropping the word mental to complete a transformation into an integrated provider of health services.

In December, the Destination Medical Center draft plan was publicly released and it awaits public comment.

Guess we'll have a few things to share next year, too!

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