Some high-profile patients of Mayo Clinic have put their love of the Rochester health care institution on full display in 2018. The most recent to do so—following the documentary from renowned filmmaker Ken Burns—was philanthropist and business consultant Jay Alix, who has presented Mayo Clinic with its largest donation ever: $200 million for the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.
Mayo Clinic announced the gift on Tuesday, adding that it would recognize Alix’s donation by changing the name of its school. Moving forward, the school—which has campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and ranks among the top ten medical schools in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report—will be known as the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine.
“Mayo Clinic is honored to be the recipient of this transformative endowment,” said Mayo Clinic president and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy in a statement. “It enables faculty and students to explore new academic fields to better patient care, conduct research, apply new technologies and develop innovative teaching methods far into the future.”
Given the size of Alix’s contribution, Mayo Clinic expects its school will utilize the funds in a number of ways. For one, the school’s curriculum will receive a boost with the addition of new dual-degree programs.
More scholarships will also be made available due to the endowment, which Mayo hopes will boost enrollment as the U.S. faces a potential physician shortage.
“Increasingly, scholarships are essential to medical schools,” said Dr. Fredrick Meyer, the Juanita Kious Waugh Executive Dean for Education at Mayo’s School of Medicine, in a statement. “They help attract diverse, high-potential learners who will care for our nation’s increasingly diverse patient populations.”
Pioneering approaches to its curriculum are expected to come from the endowment, Mayo’s Dr. Noseworthy added. Among the areas he mentioned further incorporating were new sciences like regenerative medicine, 3D surgical modeling, simulation and robotics, as well as medical practices such as interdisciplinary team training. “This gift will have a long-lasting impact as we boldly transform medical education and research training,” Noseworthy said.
While he is a patient of Mayo Clinic, Alix has also been supporting Mayo on its boards. He is both a member of Mayo’s Board of Trustees as well as the co-chair of Mayo’s Global Advisory Council.
Moreover, Alix credits the founding of his firm AlixPartners, a consultancy focused on corporate turnarounds and restructurings, to Mayo. AlixPartners is reportedly modeled after Mayo Clinic’s clinical practice model in that it follows a client-centered approach that utilizes professionals from multiple disciplines (as well as cutting-edge technology) when serving clients.
Alix, who in a statement said medicine and education were his primary philanthropic interests, hopes his donation will simultaneously advance both fields.
“Genetics, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and other technologies are transforming medical research, education and practice,” he said. “This gift will further enable Mayo’s medical school to recruit the best medical students and to create a curriculum that trains them to harness evolving radical advances in medical science and technology to the greatest benefit of patients.”