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Cleveland Clinic Celebrates 90th Anniversary

February 28, 2011

Ninety years ago today, in a four-story building at the corner of E. 93rd Street and Euclid Avenue, Cleveland Clinic’s staff of six surgeons, four internists, a radiologist, an otolaryngologist and a biophysicist welcomed its first patients, 41 in all that day.

Since February 28, 1921, Cleveland Clinic has grown to include 2,800 physicians and scientists, 11,000 nurses, 50 buildings on a 180-acre main campus, nine community hospitals, 16 suburban family health centers and facilities in Florida, Canada, Las Vegas and, in 2013, Abu Dhabi, forming a comprehensive global health system.

Drs. George Crile, Frank Bunts, William Lower and John Phillips founded Cleveland Clinic as a group medical practice, a concept virtually unheard of in 1921. Their purpose was clear in the hospital’s mission statement: “Better care of the sick, investigation into their problems, and further education of those who serve.”

“We continue to be as committed to those ideals today as our founders were 90 years ago. Since 1921, our goal has been consistent – to put patients first,” said Delos M. Cosgrove, MD, Chief Executive Officer and President of Cleveland Clinic. “We are proud of our history and the significant milestones accomplished right here in northeast Ohio that have changed the course of medicine and advanced patient care.”

In celebration of its 90th anniversary, Cleveland Clinic will be hosting events for employees and the community throughout the year, starting Monday, February 28, with:

  • The launch of a website outlining the Clinic’s history:
  • Dance and musical performances in the lobbies of the Miller Family Pavilion and the Crile Building.
  • Multiple showings for employees of a film recounting the Clinic’s history.
  • Historical displays throughout the main campus and community hospitals.
  • Opportunities for patients and employees to share stories via the Clinic’s Facebook page.

Cleveland Clinic’s history is rich with innovation, starting with the founders’ decision to form a group practice model. Other major medical innovations include: the dosimeter to measure radiation; the air mattress to prevent pressure ulcers; the isolation of serotonin, a key target of anti-depressant drugs; conservative surgical techniques for treating breast and other cancers; identification of carpal tunnel syndrome; the performance of “stopped-heart” surgery, using a heart-lung machine developed by a Cleveland Clinic physician; surgeries that demonstrated the viability of cadaver kidney transplantation; discovery of coronary angiography, giving cardiologists accurate pictures of arterial blockages; the first coronary artery bypass; the aortic valvuloplasty, which allows surgeons to repair, rather than replace, heart valves; the first successful total larynx transplant; discovery of the first “heart attack” gene; and the nation’s first face transplant, among many others.

Over the past nine decades, Cleveland Clinic has grown to become the world’s second-largest group practice, with 2,800 physicians and scientists, 11,000 nurses and the largest employer in northeast Ohio, the second largest employer in the state, and the largest employer in the history of Cleveland, with more than 43,000 employees.

Cleveland Clinic attracts patients from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. In 2010, there were more than 4 million patient visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system.

For more information about Cleveland Clinic’s 90th Anniversary events, please visit

About Cleveland Clinic

Celebrating its 90th anniversary, Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. It was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. About 2,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic Health System includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, nine community hospitals and 15 Family Health Centers in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and opening in 2013, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2010, there were 4 million visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 155,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 100 countries. Visit us at Follow us at

Cleveland Clinic News Service is available to provide video interviews and B-roll.

Media Contacts

Eileen Sheil, 216.444.8927,
Erinne Dyer, 216.444.8168,