During the mid-to-late nineteenth century, Minnesota faced public health issues such as poor sanitation and disease epidemics. To address these issues, Minnesota established a state board of health in 1872. It was the third such board in the United States.
World War II "K-ration" issued to a Minnesota soldier, c.1941-1944. The K-ration, developed by and named for University of Minnesota physiologist Ancel Keys, provided soldiers in World War II with calorie-rich foods and psychological sustenance in the form of cigarettes.
Sister Kenny demonstrates her techniques, c.1942. Her pioneering physical therapeutic approach to polio first received a positive response at the University of Minnesota and later shaped the standard treatment for polio.
Minnesota's first two American Indian nurses, Elizabeth Sherer and Josephine Parisien, c.1925. The Minnesota Department of Health started a Chippewa Nursing Service in 1923, hiring American Indian nurses to provide public health nursing services on reservations in northern Minnesota.
Civil War surgical instruments and case, 1861-1865. This kit used by a Fifth Minnesota Infantry Regiment surgeon, with its prominent amputation saws and scarificators for bloodletting, illustrates the reliance of physicians in the era before germ theory on "heroic" medical interventions.
Expert Essay: Jennifer Gunn, Director of the Program in the History of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, touches on more than 300 years of state history to explain what has made Minnesota a medical mecca.