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Resident Virginia Dines with her grandfather

April 11, 2022

By Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science staff

Virginia Dines, M.D., knew from an early age that she wanted to be a doctor. She heard the stories her grandfather would tell and says she knew medicine was a career where she could make a difference — the same idea that inspired her grandfather.

David Dines, M.D., considered a medical career after serving in the Marine Corps. He enlisted at 17 and fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. His two best friends died during their service and, because he made it through without a scratch, Dr. Dines felt compelled to give back. His father-in-law-to-be — a physician — convinced him that medicine was the way to accomplish that goal.

Dr. Dines is now a member of the Mayo Clinic emeritus staff, and his granddaughter, Virginia Dines, M.D., is a fellow in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She wanted to be a physician from an early age — primarily because of her grandfather. Training at Mayo Clinic was also a natural decision for Dr. Virginia Dines.

"Of course, I grew up hearing what a special place it was and, as a visiting medical student, I saw for myself all the things I'd heard about," she says. "Everyone at Mayo cares deeply about making the experience better for the patient."

"On my first day as an intern at the hospital in the medical ICU, the pulmonologists all knew my grandfather very well — what a nice welcome," she says. "Six years later, people still stop me to say how much they love and appreciate him and what a difference he made in their lives. I hear what an amazing teacher and educator he was, and it has been very special to be educated by people my grandfather taught. It brings things full circle. I feel really proud and grateful that I got to grow up with such a special person."

Continuing a legacy

In 2021, Dr. David Dines was recognized with the Doctors Mayo Society Lifetime Achievement Award for his professional accomplishments and personal attributes that reflect Mayo Clinic ideals.

Since he retired in 1990, Dr. David Dines and his wife of 74 years, Bette, have funded the Dr. David E. and Bette H. Dines Professorship of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine currently held by Jay H. Ryu, M.D., Mayo Clinic Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine; Dr. David E. and Bette H. Dines Fund in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Research Honoring Steve G. Peters, M.D.; Dr. David E. and Bette H. Dines Named Visiting Professorship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine; David and Bette Dines Faculty Education Fund; David and Bette Dines Simulation-Based Education Fund; and Dines Family Mayo Charter House Medical Lectureship Fund.

Dr. Virginia Dines recognizes the size of the shoes she has to fill.

"Every day, I see how many lives he's touched through the many physicians he has taught," she says. "He retired 35 years ago but still knows all the current pulmonary fellows, is involved in their training, and is helping to advance training for future generations through his philanthropy."

In a touching tribute to her grandfather, Dr. Virginia Dines didn't change her name when she got married.

"Keeping my last name was an honor to my grandfather," she says. "Having the Dines name means people are excited to meet me and send along greetings to my grandfather, which is one of the greatest things about being at Mayo. But it also gives me a lot to live up to. His legacy is phenomenal."

Read more

The Doctors Mayo Society Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Dines virtually as part of the 72nd Mayo Clinic Alumni Association Biennial Meeting in October 2021. Watch his remarks.

A version of this story originally appeared in the blog, In the Loop.