Our History

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Beginning more than a century ago, surgeons at the University of Minnesota have established a legacy of excellence in medical practice, innovation, and training.

Cutting Edge: The Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota

Explore the history of the Department of Surgery in four timelines:

Further reading

Oral History:

University of Minnesota:

  • Leonard G. Wilson. Medical Revolution in Minnesota: A History of the University of Minnesota Medical School. Saint Paul: Midewiwin Press, 1989.
  • Stanford Lehmberg, and Ann M. Pflaum. The University of Minnesota 1945-2000. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2001.
  • J. Arthur Meyers. Masters of Medicine: An Historical Sketch of the College of Medical Sciences University of Minnesota 1888-1966. St. Louis: Warren H. Green, Inc., 1968.
  • David L. Dunn and Mary E. Knatterud. “Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.” Archives of Surgery 140 (September 2005): 823–26.

Heart Surgery and Transplantation:

  • Monica M. Smith. “Medical Alley (1950s): A Tight-Knit Community of Tinkerers Keeps Hearts Ticking.” In Places of Invention: A Companion to the Exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of History, edited by Arthur P. Molella and Anna Karvellas, 86–109. Washington D.C., 2015.
  • John S. Najarian. The Miracle of Transplantation: The Unique Odyssey of a Pioneer Transplant Surgeon. Medallion Press, 2009.
  • G. Wayne Miller. King of Hearts: The True Story of the Maverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery. New York: Random House, 2000.

Acknowledgements

This project was made possible through the assistance of a vast array of individuals. In the Department of Surgery, Sherri Novitsky, Mary Knatterud, and Amanda Brower guided the project’s overall vision. In the Academic Health Center, Sarah Hansen, Julie Collier, and J.J. Glover made the project's digital components possible.

Facilitating research and providing images were Erik Moore at the University of Minnesota Archives and Lois Hendrickson at the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine. Images were also provided by Jerry Vincent (Department of Surgery), Sandy Takin McKay (Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery), Andrew Sternal (LAInk), Adrian Fischer (The Bakken), Nicholas Newman (SimPORTAL), and Kate Wiley (Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation).

I would also like to extend my gratitude to members of the faculty and staff of the Department of Surgery who graciously agreed to answer questions and tell their stories: Henry Buchwald, Paul Iaizzo, Herbert Ward, John Foker, Gregory Beilman, Robert Madoff, Genevieve Melton-Meaux, Arthur Matas, Ashok Saluja, James Moller, Arnold Leonard, Daniel Saltzman, Richard Bianco, and Peggy Norris. At SimPORTAL, Robert Sweet gave me a comprehensive tour.

I would also like to thank Dominique Tobbell and Peter Kernahan in the Program in the History of Medicine for their many historical insights regarding medicine, surgery, and the University of Minnesota. Finally, many thanks to David Rothenberger for supporting this initiative to capture the history of the Department of Surgery.

~David Korostyshevsky