Cleveland Clinic

From Ohio History Central
Cleveland Clinic, circa 1921.jpg
Cleveland Clinic, circa 1921

Cleveland doctors George W. Crile, Frank E. Bunts, William E. Lower, and John Phillips founded the Cleveland Clinic Foundation on February 5, 1921. The four men wanted to create a hospital in which medical experts worked together as a team. In addition, the new hospital also invested in medical research and education. Crile, Bunts, and Lower had worked together as a medical unit during World War I. They applied their wartime experiences to their new practice. The four men established the following goal for the Cleveland Clinic: "better care of the sick, investigation of their problems, and further education of those who serve."

The clinic grew rapidly, building a new hospital in 1924. Unfortunately, the foundation faced a major setback as a result of the Cleveland Clinic fire in May 1929. Dr. Phillips was among the 123 casualties of the fire, which was made worse by toxic fumes from burning nitro-cellulose x-ray film. Despite the tragedy and the subsequent onset of the Great Depression, the Cleveland Clinic survived and continued to grow.

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation gained a reputation for its advancements in medical research and treatment in the decades following World War II. Some of its doctors were foremost authorities in treatment of heart disease. Dr. Irvine Page studied the causes of high blood pressure and determined that the disease could be linked to diet. Dr. Mason Sones pioneered the first heart catheterization in 1958, and Dr. Rene Favoloro performed the first heart bypass surgery using a leg vein in 1967. Other doctors have made advances in the design and use of artificial organs, organ transplants, and the treatment of kidney disease.

The clinic's leadership also founded the Cleveland Clinic Educational Foundation in 1935. The foundation's commitment to continuing education for medical professionals continued to grow throughout the twentieth century. For the past twenty years, the clinic has served as the largest postgraduate medical training program in the United States that is not associated with a medical school. In the 1990s, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation was second only to the government in terms of employment figures in Cleveland. In 1988, the foundation opened up a second facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, known as Cleveland Clinic Florida. Today, the Cleveland Clinic has an excellent international reputation for its medical research, patient treatment, and educational focus.

See Also


  1. Cayton, Andrew. Ohio: The History of a People. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2002.
  2. Miller, Carol Poh, and Anthony Weaver. Cleveland: A Concise History, 1796-1990. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.