Dean History- Dean - WI

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Take Our Tour - You’re Part of Dean Medical Group's History

Dr. Joseph Dean driving the countryside,
treating patients

Learn, decade by decade, how a one-physician clinic in downtown Madison grew to become a comprehensive network of more than 60 clinics and eye care sites, a health plan, a foundation and a pharmacy benefits company spanning south-central Wisconsin.

Many things have changed in the course of 110 years ... and counting. However, some things have remained the same – such as our commitment to improving the health of our community and our vision of providing unsurpassed quality and compassionate care to every patient, every time.

All of our patients, care providers, staff and employees - as well as community members - are a part of our history. Take our tour. Be a part of the Dean legacy.

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A Tour Through the Decades

1800s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s Today
1800Joe Dean Sr. is flanked by his sons.

1800s: The Seeds for Dean Clinic are Planted

The history of Dean Clinic may have germinated long before Dr. Joseph Dean opened the first clinic in 1904. A review of his family history hints at a path that ultimately resulted in one of the largest integrated health care delivery systems in the country.

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Click on a name, then click on a title to view that video



August 1, 1904 Dr. Joseph Dean opens his first office in Madison near the Capitol Square
September 22, 1912 St. Mary’s Hospital officially opens
1915 Dr. James P. Dean (brother of Joe) becomes Dr. Joe’s first partner
1921 Drs. Joe and Jim move their offices to North Carroll Street on the Capitol Square
1924 Dr. George Robbins and Dr. Edwin Schneiders join the Deans in their practice
1926 Dr. Joe becomes St. Mary's first chief of staff
1929 The name Dean Clinic is used for the first time
1932 Dr. Joseph C. ("J.C.") Dean Jr. (son of Dr. Joe) joins the clinic
1933 Dr. Hart Van Riper becomes Dean’s first pediatrician
1935 Dr. Frank K. Dean (son of Dr. Joe) joins Dean Clinic
March 6, 1943 Dr. Joseph Dean dies at the age of 64
1947 Dr. James (“J.L.”) Dean (son of Dr. Jim) becomes a Dean Clinic physician
1955 Dr. J.C. Dean retires
July 4, 1961 Dean Clinic moves to Fish Hatchery Road
1969 New cardiac surgery program inaugurated at St. Mary’s Hospital
1973 Dr. Frank L. Dean retires
January 1, 1979 Dr. J.L. Dean retires from Dean Clinic
(last member of the Dean family to practice medicine with Dean Clinic)
January 1, 1982 Dean Clinic merges with East Madison Clinic
1983 DeanCare HMO is formed, later known as Dean Health Plan
1986 Dean Foundation is established
1987 The first Dean Clinic outside of Dane County opens in Whitewater
1989 Jointly operated by Dean and St. Mary's, the Surgery and Care Center at St. Mary's Hospital opens
1994 Janesville’s Riverview Clinic merges with Dean
1995 Dean merges with Davis Duehr Eye Associates
1998 The Neighborhood Asthma Clinic opens
2001 Benevolent Specialists Project (BSP) Free Clinic is founded
2003 Dean Health Plan co-founds Navitus Health Solutions
2012 Dean and St. Mary's Hospital jointly form an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)
September 1, 2013 Dean Health System merges with SSM Health Care

Notable Names

A Family of Doctors

Other Notable Names

Minnie Karstens Dean
Dr. Joseph Dean's wife

Dr. Edwin Schneiders
Dean’s first specialist (OB/GYN)

Dr. Mary Underrinner
Dean's first female physician

Dr. Hart Van Riper
Dean pediatrician, later medical director of the March of Dimes

Dr. Richard Botham
Dean’s first heart surgeon

Dr. Kathryn Nichol
Dean's first female pediatrician

Thomas Jackson Dean
Joseph Dean Sr.Joseph Dean Sr.
| |
Dr. Joseph DeanDr. Joseph Dean
Dr. James DeanDr. James P Dean
| |
J.C. DeanDr. J. C. Dean
Frank DeanDr. Frank Dean
| |
Dr. James L. DeanDr. James L. Dean
Dr. David L. Dean


Special Thanks

This history of Dean Clinic was compiled and written by Madison historian Bob Kann. In today’s quickly evolving health care landscape, we are grateful for his countless hours of research and discovery to preserve a rich history that acts as a compass for our future.

Image and Video Credits

All images on this Dean Clinic History Tour website are courtesy of:

  • Dean Clinic Archives
  • St. Mary's Hospital and SSM Health Archives
  • Friends and family of Joseph Dean, including the:
    • Tom Dean Collection
    • Jan Alkire Collection
    • Jeff Schneiders Collection
    • Dr. Mark Rich Collection
    • Mary Fitzsimmons Collection
  • the Wisconsin State Historical Society
  • the Wisconsin State Journal
  • the Capital Times

All rights are reserved. The images were reprinted with permission.

Video was produced by Dean Clinic or courtesy of SSM Health, its archives and its SSM Heritage Tour.

In Your Words

We'd love to hear from you!

All of our patients, care providers, staff and employees - as well as community members - are a part of our history. Please email with your comments about Dean's history, and we may post them here for others to enjoy as well.

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