Kelsey-Seybold Clinic began in 1949 when Dr. Mavis P. Kelsey, a fifth-generation Texan, decided to return to Texas and the newly emerging Texas Medical Center. Dr. Kelsey held a prestigious position at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He was impressed by the Mayo Clinic model of combining primary and specialty medical services in one location. Kelsey-Seybold Clinic was the first of its kind in the Houston area to bring specialists, general practitioners, nurses and other caregivers together as a team to provide the best possible care.
Dr. Kelsey’s brother, John R. Kelsey Jr., another Mayo-trained physician and a specialist in Gastroenterology, joined the practice in 1953. Also joining the multispecialty team in the 1950s were a psychiatrist, cardiologist and rheumatologist. In 1953, Kelsey-Seybold doctors began rotations at area hospitals, including Hermann Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
On Dec. 15, 1956, the Kelsey and Leary Foundation for the Advancement of Medicine was established to provide scholarships and financial support for research. The Kelsey Foundation, as it is known today, is involved in a variety of research projects with universities, pharmaceutical companies, government bodies and hospitals in the Texas Medical Center. Research areas include cancer, epilepsy, cardiology, diabetes and obstetrics.
On March 6, 1957, the Clinic moved into a new building at 6655 Travis with ample space for exam areas, X-ray room and laboratory. Dr. William Seybold, who had left the practice for a few years, returned in 1961, and the Kelsey-Leary-Seybold Clinic was established.
During the 1960s, new specialists and departments were added. The rapidly expanding Radiology department added lab technicians, while the multispecialty team continued to grow with the addition of a pediatrician and otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat specialist). New departments included Pediatrics, Rheumatology, Dermatology, Urology, Ophthalmology and Dentistry.
In 1964, the Clinic moved into new facilities at 6624 Fannin, which later became the site for the 29-story St. Luke’s Tower (now the O’Quinn Tower). Dr. Leary joined the staff of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in 1965 and the Clinic’s name was changed to Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.
Also in 1964, Dr. Mavis Kelsey hired Agnes (Aggie) Greer as his nurse. She met Dr. Kelsey four years earlier when she worked for Texas Governor William P. Hobby, one of Dr. Kelsey’s patients. Like so many of the original doctors, nurses and support staff, Aggie stayed with the Clinic for most of her medical career.
In 1966, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic became the first contract medical service provider for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Dr. Stanton P. Fischer, a pulmonologist, joined the staff a year earlier and assisted in providing executive physical examinations on NASA employees and other contractors.
Among the many patients who came to Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in the late ‘60s and ‘70s were entertainers like Roy Rogers and international patients from Saudi Arabia, India and Africa. More Latin Americans visited Kelsey-Seybold Clinic than any other U.S. clinic during this period.