The Mayo Clinic Innovation Exchange and Immigrant Heritage Month
June 22, 2020 – By Jared Mueller, Director and Dr. Charles Bruce, Medical Director – Mayo Clinic Innovation Exchange
Mayo Clinic’s immigrant entrepreneur heritage dates back to Dr. William Worrall Mayo, an English immigrant and founder of Mayo Clinic, and Mother Mary Alfred Moes, an immigrant from Luxembourg and leader of the Sisters of Saint Francis convent, who partnered to build what would eventually become the first Mayo hospital in the late 1880s. Today, the Mayo Clinic Innovation Exchange is excited to continue this heritage of entrepreneurial collaboration with a powerhouse of diverse innovators leading the way to bring new medical solutions to patients with unmet needs.
Our medical director, Dr. Charles Bruce, originally from South Africa, has been a named inventor on more than 160 patent filings. We are proud that Mayo Clinic’s renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, born in a small village near Mexicali, Mexico, is a key supporter of the Exchange’s Convergence Science Program with Georgia Tech. The program pairs Georgia Tech’s engineering expertise with ideas from Mayo Clinic physicians to find solutions to clinical problems. Earlier this month the Exchange hosted Dr. Abba Zubair, medical director of Transfusion Medicine and Stem Cell Therapy at Mayo Clinic in Florida, to discuss his stem cell research collaboration with NASA. Originally from Nigeria, Dr. Zubair dreamed of being an astronaut as a child. He has researched the role of stem cells in repairing damage caused by hemorrhagic stroke – research inspired by his own mother’s fatal stroke. His current work focuses on whether stem cells could be grown more easily in weightlessness than in labs on earth and whether stem cells grown in space are safe and functional when used in clinical care.
Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, a gastroenterologist and native of Malta, is the first Mayo Clinic CEO born outside the U.S. since Dr. William Worrall Mayo. His research focuses on developing new ways to treat diseases such as diabetic gastroparesis and irritable bowel syndrome. He has served as director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, and was cofounder of the Center for Innovation at Mayo Clinic. Under Dr. Farrugia’s leadership and Mayo Clinic’s 2030 vision, the Exchange aims to connect innovators and investors of every background and national origin with the opportunity to improve patient care across the world.
The Harvard Business Review noted that Mayo Clinic’s record of innovation is due in large part to the diversity of knowledge within its own care teams, and its embrace of both medical innovations and innovators from around the world.