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Challenges and Changes During the Depression 

Challenges and Changes During the Depression
Chapter:
Challenges and Changes During the Depression
Author(s):

W. Bruce Fye

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199982356.003.0006
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date: 20 April 2021

The Great Depression led to a dramatic decline in new patients at the Mayo Clinic (from 79,000 in 1929 to fewer than 50,000 in 1932). Mayo was in better financial condition than many large enterprises, but the economic crisis forced it to cut salaries and reduce other expenses. The clinic’s cardiologists were especially interested in electrocardiography, heart valve disease, and myocardial infarction. In 1930 the institution created a vascular section, staffed by specialists interested in peripheral vascular diseases and hypertension. Mayo vascular specialists George Brown and Edgar Allen played central roles in convincing the leaders of the American Heart Association to expand their organization’s agenda to include blood vessel diseases. Mayo pathologist Louis Wilson, who had been a vocal proponent of formalizing specialty training since 1912, was largely responsible for the creation of the influential Advisory Board for Medical Specialties in 1934. Will and Charlie Mayo died in 1939.

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