Mayo Clinic remembers Florida physician leader Dr. Leo Black

Mayo Clinic Florida leader Dr. Leo Black in a business suit with a bow tie and smiling

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Leo Black, M.D., a distinguished Mayo Clinic physician, longtime chair of the Board of Governors at Mayo Clinic in Florida, and former member of Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees, passed away on Oct. 19. He was 86.

Dr. Black is recognized for his strong leadership in numerous roles at Mayo Clinic. He served two terms on Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees from — 1975 to 1987 and 1990 to 1999. He was a member of the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors in Rochester from 1977 to 1983 and was chair of Mayo Clinic Board of Governors in Florida from 1990 to 1999.

As chair of the Board of Governors in Florida, Dr. Black oversaw significant growth in practice, education and research activities at the campus in Jacksonville, which opened to patients in 1986.

“We are all beyond grateful for the decade of leadership Dr. Black provided at Mayo Clinic in Florida,” said Kent Thielen, M.D., CEO, Mayo Clinic in Florida. “His guidance allowed for critical exponential growth of our Mayo Clinic in Florida practice, education and research programs throughout his tenure, and he will be deeply missed.”

Drs. Richard Weeks, Robert Waller and Leo Black at the groundbreaking ceremony for the 1990 Florida campus expansion

Dr. Black came to Mayo Clinic as a fellow in internal medicine in 1961. Before arriving at Mayo, he received his M.D. degree from Temple University School of Medicine, completed an internship at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Baltimore, and served as a medical officer for the Public Health Service in Rapid City, South Dakota. At Mayo Clinic, in 1964, Dr. Black received the award of the Edward John Noble Foundation for the development of leadership as a fellow of the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. He joined the Mayo Clinic staff in Internal Medicine in 1965.

In addition to his other leadership roles, Dr. Black served as chair of the Division of Thoracic Diseases from 1971 to 1977, as Mayo Clinic’s director for Research from 1977 to 1983, and as chair of Board of Directors of St. Luke’s Hospital in Jacksonville from 1990 to 1999.

Doctor Black retired from Mayo Clinic in August 1999. In a tribute to Dr. Black, colleagues expressed gratitude for his lifelong commitment to medicine and Mayo Clinic; for showing that resistance to change is never an option; for his vision of the future and ability to merge tradition with innovation; his zest for learning; his practical, down-to-earth style, unpretentiousness and love of the simple things in life; his integrity and choice of tough decisions over popularity; his sense of humor that always kept things in perspective; and his commitment to the ideals of Mayo Clinic. 


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