Mayo Clinic has added three chapters to an audio documentary that highlights Mayo's contributions during World War II.
The documentary, "Stronger Together: A Correspondence-based History of Mayo Clinic Surgeons in World War II," was produced in 2022. It was a collaborative effort among Mayo Clinic Military Medicine, the W. Bruce Fye Center for the History of Medicine, and the Mayo Clinic Heritage Days Program.
The documentary tells the stories of Mayo physicians overseas when the world was at war in 1943.
Almost two years after Pearl Harbor, U.S. troops and supplies were navigating treacherous ocean crossings to Great Britain in preparation for what would be called D-Day. An allied invasion of France at Dieppe had failed to secure a toehold in Europe, and American troops in the Mediterranean had landed on Sicily and mainland Italy.
World War II was nearing its decisive moments, and Mayo Clinic staff were deeply committed to the war effort.
Through the war years, the Mayo Clinic physicians who were overseas wrote to Donald Balfour, M.D., then director of graduate medical education at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Balfour, in turn, wrote back more than 60 times.
The documentary showcases the correspondence between Dr. Balfour and the physicians stationed overseas.
"In the present day, when so many of us work at a distance, this correspondence is a reminder that our connections with others, no matter how remote we may be, provide us with strength," says George Saulnier, staff historian for Mayo Clinic Military Medicine.
The first chapter, "Medical Services in England," tells the story of Drs. Archibald McIndoe and Howard Ives.
The three new chapters highlight the work of Albert Snell, M.D., Howard Gray, M.D., Charles W. Mayo, M.D., and James Priestley, M.D.
"The Center for the History of Medicine has a wealth of information about Mayo Clinic's involvement in World War II," Saulnier says. "Heritage Days recently released 'Rising to the Challenge: The Mayo Aero Medical Unit in World War II.' This is a continuation of the story from the perspective of surgeons writing home while serving abroad."
"As we prepare to honor Veterans Day, Mayo Clinic Military Medicine, the W. Bruce Fye Center for the History of Medicine, and Mayo Clinic Heritage Days salute all who served," says Pierre Noel, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic Military Medicine. "It is to you we owe our gratitude and thanks."