Mayo Clinic Alumni Association – Know Your Board – Michael Rock, M.D.

Provides leadership | Makes policy decisions | Decides strategic direction and vision

Michael Rock, M.D. (OR ‘82)

Board member

  • President-elect, Emeriti Staff
  • Professor emeritus of of orthopedics
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Rochester, Minnesota
  • Fellowship: Orthopedic oncology, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, Rochester, Minnesota; Rizzoli Institute, Bologna, Italy
  • Residency: Orthopedics, University of Western Ontario, Canada
  • Medical school: University of Western Ontario Medical School
  • Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands; grew up in Canada

Why medicine

I became interested in medicine during high school. I was an athlete and had injuries that exposed me to orthopedic surgeons. I liked how they resolve situations quickly so athletes can get back to their activities. I also like the altruism of medicine and the many options the profession offers.

Why Mayo Clinic

A Canadian mentor who became a Mayo Clinic consultant, Franklin Sim, M.D. (I ’66, OR ’70), recommended I pursue fellowships at the Rizzoli Institute and at Mayo. I followed his advice.

Michael Rock, M.D., in 1982.

After training at Mayo, I returned to Canada for five years. Mayo Clinic approached me about coming back on staff. I’d been very impressed with the Mayo culture, collegiality, infrastructure and approach to patients. In my practice in Canada, I largely acted on my own. I didn’t have fellows in my subspecialty or the infrastructure to have a big surgical cancer practice. Mayo, on the other hand, had four orthopedic oncologists and other specialists to care for patients with life-threatening conditions. It was an easy decision to return to Mayo.

Your work

I’m president-elect of the Mayo Clinic Emeriti Staff and will become president in October 2020.

Although retired since 2018, I’m still involved with some national groups including the American Hospital Association (AHA). I’ve had a 15-year collaboration with them and developed curriculum for the next generation of leaders. I also am involved in various think tanks and advocacy groups across the U.S. in an effort to develop and introduce innovation in health care.

I thoroughly enjoyed surgery and patients. My four decades as an orthopedic oncologist largely defined me, so I worried I’d feel a loss of identity in retirement. But the transition has been surprisingly easy. I’ve remained active on the national scene and have been able to give the time and effort I want to advocacy, consulting groups and the AHA.

Alumni Association

Being involved in the Alumni Association feels like a natural extension of what I do for the Emeriti Staff. I hope to add a unique perspective and be an avenue for emeritus to become more actively involved in the Alumni Association.

Off duty

My wife and I travel a lot to see our grandkids and to see family in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Two grandchildren are in Rochester, three are near Las Vegas, one is in England and another is in Seattle. I have a huge opportunity to be an integral part of my grandkids’ lives.

Fun facts

I’m Canadian and have dual citizenship.



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