Cleveland Clinic: The Future of Healthcare Since 1921

How an idea forged in war transformed healthcare around the world


Cleveland Clinic was at the forefront of modern medicine when it was first organized as a multi-specialty group practice in 1921. What began in a military hospital during World War I has led generations of caregivers to provide innovative medical care in our community and around the world. With 70,000 caregivers, Cleveland Clinic has more than 9 million outpatient visits per year at more than 220 locations and 18 hospitals around the world.


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An idea that transformed healthcare

In 1917, a group of medical personnel from Cleveland organized the first American medical unit to land in France during World War I. Impressed with the efficiency and collaboration they saw in the military, George Crile, MD, Frank Bunts, MD, and William Lower, MD, had a novel idea: to create a not-for-profit group practice where medical and surgical care could be delivered, studied and taught by associated specialists.

Dominance in heart care attracts international patients

Cleveland Clinic’s stature as a medical and research powerhouse continued to grow in the next several decades, notably in the area of heart care. Among these innovations, F Mason Sones, MD, discovered moving cine-coronary angiography in 1958, revealing the natural history of coronary artery disease. This discovery ultimately led to Cleveland Clinic’s pioneering work in coronary artery bypass, making Cleveland Clinic a world-recognized center in cardiac surgery by the mid-1970s. Cleveland Clinic began attracting increasing numbers of international patients, particularly from the Middle East, including Crown Prince Khalid of Saudi Arabia, who came to Cleveland Clinic for coronary artery bypass surgery in 1972.

A global network

The new millennium brought a leadership transition and continued expansion. With an eye for growth, Toby Cosgrove, MD, took over as CEO and President in 2004. By the time Dr. Cosgrove transitioned from his role as CEO in 2017, he had overseen a transformation of patient care delivery, global expansion, and raised Cleveland Clinic’s reputation for quality, innovation and patient experience.


Cleveland Clinic’s focus on clinical excellence and superior patient outcomes now stretches to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and Canada. Its newest international medical facilities will be in London, with an outpatient clinic opening in 2021 and a 184-bed hospital in 2022.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi (CCAD) is a 394-bed, physician-led medical facility that provides patients in the region direct access to the world’s best healthcare providers and Cleveland Clinic’s unique model of care, reducing their need to travel abroad for treatment. An integral part of Mubadala Health, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is specifically designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the population of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In all, more than 40 medical and surgical specialties are represented, including cardio-thoracic surgery, transplant, general surgery and cancer. A new, seven-story oncology center is under construction that will bring Cleveland Clinic’s integrated and transformative approach to diagnosing and treating cancer to the UAE.

State-of-the-future healthcare

Cleveland Clinic’s innovative spirit lives on today under the leadership of CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic, MD, former CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In its first 100 years, Cleveland Clinic has introduced many medical firsts, opened facilities around the world and is proud to be ranked among the top hospitals in the country. Now, as Cleveland Clinic marks its centennial, its mission remains firmly grounded in the vision of its founders: caring for life, researching for health and educating those who serve. For an inside look at Cleveland Clinic’s world-class healthcare, visit:


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