by James Allen, M.D., Past President, MCN
Following WWII there was an explosion of medical research and knowledge, leading to a trend toward greater medical specialization. Over the past 100 years or so, nervous system specialists, known as neuropsychiatrists, handled the spectrum of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and manic-depression, as well as neurologic disorders such as stroke, MS, or Parkinson's disease. However, both fields were becoming too complex, prompting the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to begin certifying neurologists and psychiatrists separately, though both still had about one fourth of their training in the other field.
On the local scene, this phenomenon was noted by a small group of neurologists and a small group of psychiatrists, who merged in 1955 and formed The Minneapolis Neuropsychiatric Clinic. This association, which lasted for 30 years, provided full spectrum service in these two overlapping fields. At that point, it became clear that the two were very different specialties and that there was no longer a need to remain as one group. The neurologists retained the building in Golden Valley and the name was changed to the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology, Ltd.
We were one of the first and few specialty clinics to build our own medical building. Located at the north end of Sweeney Lake on 8.8 acres in Golden Valley, the building has received national architectural awards.
It was constructed in the 1960s with an addition added later.
There have been, and still are, a number of unique features about the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology (MCN):
• We were one of the first group practices of medical specialists in the Twin Cities.
• We were one of the first groups to locate in the suburbs, rather than remain practicing downtown in the Medical Arts Building or Physician & Surgeons Building - in other words, to go where the patients were. This effort to accommodate patients for their convenience, not ours, continues to be a priority of MCN. We now have a number of satellite offices in the greater Minneapolis area.
• We are the largest single-specialty neurology clinic in the nation. This allows us to bring a great deal of expertise to bear on neurologic problems - adult and pediatric.
• In the 1970s, we began making day trips to medical facilities in communities in out-state Minnesota and adjacent states that were not large enough to attract a fulltime neurologist. We again went where the patients were for their convenience, not ours. People in rural areas were delighted with this new service, as many were reluctant to drive to or in a large city.
• In the 1980s, as neurologic knowledge increased even further, we encouraged some of our neurologists to subspecialize in particular diseases as well as carry on a general neurologic practice. This has led to an excellence of care for persons with epilepsy, MS, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and other neurologic conditions. In addition, it has led to research studies, which provide our patients with cutting edge therapies.
• Most of our neurologists also hold academic appointments through the University of Minnesota where they contribute their experience and knowledge to medical students and family practice residents. In return, they are challenged to maintain their expertise.
• We have managed to remain an independent medical practice at a time when many have been sold to hospitals or HMOs. We believe we can be better advocates for our patients if we retain this independence.