Month: May 2013

Why I’m excited about DMC

Jane Ferber, Blog Author
Jane Ferber, Blog Author

When I first heard of the Destination Medical Center project, I knew I had to learn more.  After attending an open house at the Rochester Art Center, the excitement of knowing Mayo Clinic’s vision to carry on their legacy, once again made me proud to be affiliated with such a great organization.

The legacy is something I have experienced since my first tour of the Saint Marys operating rooms, in the early 1970s.  My mother worked as a nurse back then.  The Franciscan nun Mom worked for said my brothers and I could come for a Saturday morning tour to see where our mom went to work every day.  On that day, I saw one of the original heart-lung machines, and an artificial heart valve.  It was an amazing experience.  As soon as I was old enough, I became a hospital volunteer on a cardiac floor in the same building.  When I was young there were countless trips to Mayo Clinic for school tours of various areas including the medical museum and the electron microscope.  Mayo Clinic’s history intertwining with exciting new technology struck a chord.

Even as an employee, the contrast of the legacy with the advancements in technology and patient care help me see the vast changes that have taken place.  Knowing the ability to adapt from old ways and move toward a promising future seems key to this organization’s prosperity.  Seeing the vision of DMC is another exciting path in Mayo Clinic’s journey.

Becoming a destination for medical care is not necessarily a new concept. Sister Moes’ original vision has transpired into what we see today.  As described in Mayo Clinic’s history (The Doctors Mayo, by Helen Clapesattle), the early 1900s saw passenger trains bringing multitudes to Rochester to seek care.  Looking to the future of Mayo Clinic as well as the Rochester area, once again seeing the needs of the world’s patients brings with it the opportunity to expand our vision to “The needs of the world’s health comes first.”  Built into the DMC plan is not only a plan for Mayo Clinic to expand care for patients, but expansion for our community as well.  Knowing the history, I feel the legacy.  Visualizing patient care in the future, I feel proud to be a part of Mayo Clinic’s DMC plan.

Jane Ferber is simulation technologist for the Education Simulation Center at Mayo Clinic 

Why are you excited about DMC? Share your thoughts below.

Let’s stand up and make Rochester a more livable city

Adam Ferrari, Blog Author

Picture yourself standing in front of a tranquil lake watching the sun descend into the horizon, thus amplifying the shadows that spread across the water. Now start tossing pebbles and small rocks out into the water. Watch as each one breaks the surface and catapults concentric rings of energy effortlessly outward.  With each successive impact the rings begin to couple and subtract, bounce and marry until they become a patchwork of ripples, each with its own unique path and destination.

This is the metaphor for the contemporary city.

Cities are complex organisms, wholly alive and as individual as a snowflake or thumbprint. What is the reason for their distinctiveness? Well it is because their creators are equally unique and have created the city in their own image. For as many different people exist in a city, there are as many different thoughts, attitudes, values, morals, beliefs, and lifestyles all woven together into a life-size tapestry. And THAT is what makes cities spectacular.

Cities are a result of our collective identity. They are breathed into being by humans looking for ways to solve many of life’s most basic issues. How to protect yourself, how to provide food for your family, how to treat waste, how to earn money, and how to be happy.

Cities are designed by people, for people. And their design is a principal way the city exemplifies the values of a community.

Lest we forget that as humans evolve and alter their lifestyles and habits, our cities need to evolve in parallel. And with DMC becoming a reality, we stand on the verge of a new decade of growth in Rochester that may profoundly change its character and appearance. So we have an obligation as citizens to speak up, have our voices heard, and imprint into our city the values that we hold dear.

Or our fate will be to have an imposed character grafted onto us without our permission. Let’s stand up and make Rochester a more livable city.

If you were sitting on the DMC Authority and were given the power, how would influence the growth of downtown in the core areas of DMC? And what ideas do you have that you think nobody on that committee would have? Post your thoughts below.

Adam Ferrari is an architect and design activist living and working in Rochester, Minnesota.  He is the Director of the non-profit Design Rochester and the host of “Design with a Capital D” on The COBB Radio.

Where is my opportunity for input on DMC?

Heidi Mestad, Blog Author
Heidi Mestad, Blog Author

The DMC team has led over 85 presentations and participated in numerous Q&A dialogues, forums and open houses. Three main questions tend to rise to the top:

1. Where is my opportunity for input?
2. What are you going to do about all the growth and the social impact it brings?
3. What will this really do for me?

This post will start with question one: Where is my opportunity for input? (I will address questions 2-3 in future posts.) Also, if you have other questions, start sending them so we can talk about it.

Where is my opportunity for input?
Here is a graphic to help visualize where we are currently in DMC-land and also to explain what could happen.

DMC engagement

First, people believe that DMC is figured out. Not True! Please let me draw your attention to the arrow pointing to where we currently are…the Legislative Process. The curving line represents the DMC journey; each turn represents key turning points that would shape what DMC looks like. The blue circles are areas where current public processes exist. If DMC is successful during this legislative session there will be a phase of community visioning for DMC. The visioning phase will gather input and discuss priorities within the DMC 7 areas of focus (link), as well as transportation infrastructure. Visioning will complement and work in partnership with the Rochester Downtown Master Plan (link).

Once community input is gathered on what people would like to have in their downtown area, a 5 year development plan will be developed. The five-year development plan must align with the City of Rochester’s comprehensive plan. Each project within the plan will require public input and hearings as it moves through the City of Rochester approval process.

In its current form, DMC is a strategy. No detailed master plan exists. This is common in the economic development process. Once funding is secured, visioning and planning can begin in earnest. It would be false hope to vision the community further on their downtown and not be able to do anything about it, except put a plan up on a shelf!

A little more on the green bubble in the visual… that is where we start to carve out what ‘it’ all is together! How do our neighborhoods see connecting into the downtown district? What would you like to see in realms of Art and Culture? What would you really use? What do you see as your ultimate downtown experience? Would you like to live right downtown, if so what does a livable downtown look like to you?

What can you do right now?

  • Learn more about DMC at
  • Write your thoughts on this blog:
  • Share a story of how you came to Rochester or the region
  • If you are a native, what do you remember? What would you like to see for Rochester or the region?
  • What are your hopes for DMC?

Hey Rochester: Let’s be a first-rate version of ourselves, not a second rate version of someone else!

Brad Jones, Blog Author
Brad Jones, Blog Author

As I watch many cities across North America become similar versions of one another those which really stand out to me are destinations which are distinctive and have a personality all to their own. In my opinion, the cities and destinations who concentrate on the essence of who they are will differentiate themselves from the clutter of similarity so prevalent in today’s quest to be relevant and successful as a visitor destination.

For years Mayo Clinic has been the gold standard for the health care industry. With varied success many have tried to copy or emulate portions of Mayo’s model and delivery methods. As government and market pressures are forcing the entire health care industry to reshape itself, Mayo Clinic has begun to reshape how they deliver world class healthcare. Mayo Clinic and other destination medical centers have come to understand that the destination component of the overall patient experience is equally important to their patients, and support travel companions but also to their workforce who deliver these services. This is precisely why the Destination Medical Center economic development initiative is so important to the State of Minnesota.

Rochester has an amazing and diverse variety of offerings, from our incredible independent restaurants and retail to our natural resources, vibrant neighborhoods and evolving downtown vibe. DMC will build on these attributes to further exemplify what is desired by our more than 2.5 million visitors each year, likely to be over 5 million annually by 2025. Although it is important to understand what other destination medical centers are doing, it will be tempting to copy others, as they have done to Mayo Clinic for years. I encourage us all to lead, be unique and different from other communities and destination medical centers. Let’s build from what has made Rochester and Mayo Clinic successful and manage the Rochester destination experience based on confidence rather than fear.

People will ultimately make the difference!

From Rochester’s early days, and more so today, our community has been built on hospitality. The cornerstone of Rochester is that we treat others (guests and fellow residents) as we would want to be treated. Our businesses and organizations operate under this simple yet extremely difficult promise which creates a culture of service excellence within our destination. I have the privilege of witnessing the great people who deliver on this promise each and every day…they, are the everyday hero’s who will make our success and DMC possible. The people who deliver the hands-on service in Rochester continue to inspire, The stories of caring and understanding that they create truly make a difference.

As we write the Destination Medical Center chapter of Rochester’s rich history and State of Minnesota enables Rochester to recapture a small percentage of our new tax growth, we will appoint a DMC authority to ‘officially’ begin this quest of evolving toward the world’s best Destination Medical Center. We will see new buildings, new streets, new businesses and new needed infrastructure, all of which are important and necessary components to the process. In the end people will make the difference – caring people, understanding people, hospitable people! We must use this ‘Hospitality Promise’ to guide us through change and growth. This promise will be carried forward by our nurses, taxi drivers, food servers, housekeepers, maintenance staff, shuttle bus drivers, doctors, bellman, volunteers, desk agents etc. – Let’s not ever forget the power of us, the people!

Brad Jones is executive director of the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau