Mayo on the move


Staff Writer

The Mayo Clinic has gone mobile, traveling across the country as part of a year-long tour. An interactive, mobile exhibit commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Mayo Clinic was in Minot on Wednesday, celebrating the history of the clinic.

According to Travis Paul, operations administrator at the Mayo Clinic, the mobile exhibit is a way to thank people who are connected to the clinic and share the clinic’s story.

Hosting the mobile exhibit was Trinity Health, a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. The exhibit was open to the public all day on Wednesday at the Town & Country Center parking lot near the Trinity CancerCare Center. Free hot dogs were available over the lunch hour and free ice cream bars were given throughout the day.

The 1,000-square-foot unit, “Mayo Clinic: 150 Years Serving Humanity,” featured milestones from Mayo Clinic’s history, including the surgical separation of the conjoined Carlson twins, the role of the Mayo Clinic in healing the wounds of war, and the creation of the clinic’s integrated care model that focuses a team of experts on one patient at a time.

Participants were able to glimpse what is on the horizon in healthcare in the mobile unit, with a look at breakthroughs like “regenerative medicine” and the use of the human genome in individualized care. There was also an interactive display that reveals the internal structures of an individual’s body.

The first part of the exhibit gives a brief history, but the majority of the exhibit is dedicated to showing what the Mayo Clinic is doing now to help patients and create the future of medicine. It’s also very interactive.

The sound of a storm can be heard upon first walking in, since the clinic was created after a devastating tornado hit Rochester, Minn., which is to symbolize how a medical diagnosis can feel like a storm in your life.

One feature in the mobile exhibit includes a display of some of the work that the Mayo Clinic is doing to help wounded warriors. There’s an example of a new prosthetic that a Mayo physician has developed, since many soldiers have lost limbs. The clinic is working to develop prosthetics that will help them return to normal lives.

Another feature of the mobile exhibit, geared more toward kids, is a character mirror that reveals an individual’s nervous system, skeletal system and circulatory system. The character would follow the person’s movements, offering a fun way to learn about the body.

There is also a robot that the Mayo Clinic is using to help diagnose concussions, yet another feature on the mobile exhibit. The robot can transmit data about an injured player to a neurologist, who can use that information to determine whether a player has a concussion or is safe to return to the field. It’s a way to bring care to patients wherever they are.

The Mayo Clinic’s mobile exhibit is close to 60 feet long and 28 feet wide, weighing in at almost 80,000 pounds. The exhibit was designed by a company that has created exhibits for the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, Macy’s, Siemen’s, Johnson & Johnson and Motorola.

The mobile Mayo Clinic tour started in April and when it’s finished in October, the exhibit will have been in more than 40 cities in the U.S. and Canada. It’s also a free exhibit, made possible by donors, most of whom are grateful patients.

Paul said the mobile exhibit made a stop in Minot because Trinity Hospital is a part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. The mobile exhibit and the partnership is a way to extend Mayo Clinic knowledge to Trinity Hospital, he added, and allows for a collaboration with specialists from both networks.

Visitors to the mobile exhibit have seemingly enjoyed the experience. Paul said they like the interactive nature of the exhibit. “It’s amazing how many people have a connection to the Mayo Clinic,” he added.

“Everyone can identify with something in the exhibit, like the wounded war hero or the interactive organ display,” said Dr. Kenneth Keller, radiology director at Trinity Hospital. It’s also a display of 150 years of what the Mayo Clinic has done. The Mayo Clinic was recently rated the No. 1 hospital in the United States, according to a recent issue of U.S. News and World Report.

“It’s cool to be connected with the Mayo Clinic and have the ability to connect with them,” Keller said. The unique thing, he added, is that the Mayo Clinic Care Network that Trinity is a part of is free to patients. As part of that connection, Trinity Hospital gained over 3,000 Mayo Clinic staff. “A majority of patients would rather stay home,” Keller said. “This gives a greater percentage of patients to stay home.”