Mayo Clinic Alumni Association – Know your Board – Elizabeth Cozine, M.D.
Provides leadership | Makes policy decisions | Decides strategic direction and vision
- Department of Family Medicine
- Assistant professor of family medicine
- Mayo Clinic
- Rochester, Minnesota
- Residency: Family medicine, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, Rochester, Minnesota
- Medical school: Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine
- Undergraduate: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
- Native of: Zumbrota, Minnesota
I was a Spanish language and literature major in college. I eventually realized my interest was really in people and their stories; I didn’t want to spend my career researching literature, so I took the prerequisites for medical school.
My dad, John Wilkinson, M.D. (MED ’78, FM ’81, Department of Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic in Rochester), went to medical school at Mayo Clinic and was in the first class of Mayo’s family medicine residency. I think it’s safe to say my interest in medicine originated with him.
Why Mayo Clinic
I applied to other medical schools, but Mayo was my first choice. I’ve been around Mayo Clinic and its values my whole life. I’m happy it worked out to be at Mayo. I got a wonderful education and had fantastic experiences with my classmates and mentors.
I thought pretty seriously about psychiatry, but family medicine was the clear winner. I love longitudinal care. I don’t always have to fix things in a single visit. I get to know patients as well as I can and help maximize their quality of life. Family medicine is an old-fashioned specialty centered on relationships with patients and their family members. I’m more of a guide for them than a wizard diagnostician.
I knew I wanted to stay at Mayo for residency. At the time, we already had one baby, were planning on more kids and wanted to be near our families. At Mayo you get a comprehensive rural family medicine experience in Kasson — the only clinic in Dodge County. You also rotate through subspecialty areas and learn from world experts at Mayo Clinic.
When it came time to look for a job after training, I wanted to remain with Mayo. There was an opportunity with Mayo Clinic Health System in Zumbrota, my hometown. I practiced there for three years and then transferred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester. I ultimately made the choice to work in Rochester, where I live, because I like being part of the fabric of my community. I like getting to know my colleagues and the people I refer patients to, and being close to the medical school. I’m a preceptor in the Community Physician Apprenticeship Program, which helps get medical students interested in rural primary care.
I care for a panel of about 1,300 patients — from babies to elderly adults. I love taking care of families with school-age kids whose lives mirror mine. I also love taking care of patients at the end of their lives.
I have the opportunity to encourage alumni to maintain Mayo connections and remember the relationships they developed at Mayo. This is a special place. I hope to bring to the Alumni Association the perspective of primary care.
My husband, Dan, a manager in IT at Mayo Clinic, and I have three kids. Julia is 9, William is 7 and Joanna is 4. Being their mother is the most important thing in my life and my greatest joy.
We like to travel as a family. In the summer we camp often at Minnesota and Wisconsin state parks. I’m an avid exerciser. I do middle-distance running — usually a couple of half-marathons a year plus some shorter races. I’m co-leader of my oldest daughter’s Brownie troop. I finished three years as troop cookie manager, which was more challenging than medical school in some ways!
I’m in the midst of a running streak. I’ve run at least a mile every day for almost the last year. Most days I run more than a mile. Not wanting to break my streak is motivation to stay active.