David Skillrud, M.D. (I ’82, THD ’85)

david skillrud

David Skillrud, M.D.

Board Member

(originally published in 2015)

Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine (private practice)

 Normal and Morton, Illinois

“My years at Mayo — 1979 to 1985 — were the most important years of my life.”


  • Fellowship: Thoracic Disease, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education
  • Residency: Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education
  • Medical School: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield
  • Undergraduate: Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois
  • Native of: Bloomington, Illinois

Why did you decide to pursue medicine?

I liked science and interacting with people in high school and thought medicine would be a nice combination of the two. In high school I worked part time at a medical lab. When there was a phone call for me I often joked, “Is that Mayo Clinic calling for me again?”

Why did you train at Mayo Clinic?

My family is from Minnesota, so I was very familiar with the area. Mayo has a wonderful reputation, and it felt like home.

How does Mayo Clinic influence your practice?

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis — fortunately mild — during my training at Mayo Clinic. I learned so much about being a patient. I think every doctor ought to be a patient at some point. I recall a hematologist at Mayo carefully reviewing every page of my medical record with me when seeing me just for a temporary platelet reduction associated with a neurology drug.

I treat every patient that way, reviewing page after page of medical history that may or may not be applicable to their current condition. I know what it feels like when your doctor is thorough.

My years at Mayo — 1979 to 1985 — were the most important years of my life. I didn’t go to Mayo intending to be a pulmonologist. I started in internal medicine. When I rotated through pulmonology, I was really taken not just with how thorough the department physicians were but also with what wonderful, fun and complete persons they were. Thirty years later I’m still in touch with some of them.

What do you contribute to the Mayo Clinic Alumni Association?

My love for Mayo and my loyalty. I’ve been a member of the Doctors Mayo Society since I completed my training.

What do you do in your spare time?

I have six children, including two still in high school, parents who are still lively in their 80s and siblings who are all in town, so I spend a lot of time on family activities.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I like to perform — piano, some singing and 260 medical talks during my career. I February I did stand-up comedy at a local community college fund-raising event and won first place.