In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

October 1, 2015

For the Love of Teaching — Dr. Edward Rosenow Just Won’t Quit

By In the Loop

Last year, 2014, would have marked 100 years of a Rosenow — from beginning to end; not continuous — at Mayo Clinic.If you were to go back and look through Mayo Clinic's staff and student rosters between the years 1914 and 2014, there would be at least one name that you'd (nearly) always be able to find: Rosenow.

"I came to Mayo in 1960, so I've been here for 55 years myself," Edward Rosenow III, M.D., tells us. "I'm named after one of my second cousins who came to Mayo Clinic in 1914 and worked on the staff in microbiology. His two sons came to Mayo for training, as well. So last year, 2014, would have marked 100 years of a Rosenow — from beginning to end; not continuous ­ — at Mayo Clinic."

Dr. Rosenow, 80 years young, has been retired from his work as a Mayo Clinic pulmonologist "for a number of years." But he's still offering his knowledge, experience, wisdom ­ — and quick wit ­ — to Mayo's medical students and residents each day through his teaching. And if you ask him why he still does it (which we did), he'll tell you it's equal parts love for the profession … and fear. "I have a fear of dying someday without telling at least one person everything that I know," he says. "I've got things in my head that only an old guy like me could harbor." Plus, he says, "It gets me out of the house."

Though he could be spending his retirement years with another lifelong passion — biking — Dr. Rosenow says making sure that he continues to pass along his medical and patient care experience to Mayo's younger generation is important to him. And to Mayo and the continued well-being of our patients. "What if nobody taught?" he says. "We'd say, 'Well, just go back and read what's in the text book.' But text books only cover a fraction of what I think is important. And so I feel like I have an obligation to teach for as long as I can."

And over the years, he's done that in some creative, and meaningful ways. "I've given many 20-minute lectures on the run where we'll get a cup of coffee, and I'll take out my material on a memory stick or slides, or even, originally, the whole X-ray and do my teaching from there," Dr. Rosenow says. For many years, he'd hold discussions at his home at the end of a hospital service. "The object, of course, was to make them think," he says.

And to have fun. "I always taught with fun in mind," Dr. Rosenow says. "Life's too short; you gotta have fun. And you have to have fun while you're teaching. People remember that." Perhaps as much as Dr. Rosenow says he'll remember his time at Mayo Clinic. "It's been a great experience," he says. "My accomplishments couldn't have been done anywhere else or at any other academic medical center. And I'm forever grateful for that."

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Tags: Dr Edward Rosenow, Staff Stories

To my friend with whom over many decades has been diligent, compassionate and engaging. Very few have all these qualities today. This man is few and far between.
I love you dearly, Maria


It has been my pleasure to work with Dr. Rosenow on an online course this past year. He’s incredibly kind, quick to smile or tell a joke, and a brilliant physician. He is one in a million and I feel blessed to consider him a friend.

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