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Several pictures of doctors who are featured on the Local Legends web site

MEET LOCAL LEGEND: Marilyn Mollman Rymer, M.D.

Picture of Marilyn Mollman Rymer
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Marilyn Mollman Rymer, M.D.

“I love to work on the answer to puzzles, and the brain is the greatest puzzle of all. I went into neurology in 1970, and there have been huge changes in the field since. In over 30 years of practice there has been so much progress in the treatment of strokes, but I feel there is lots more to be discovered.”


Former Rep. Karen McCarthy



As Valedictorian of her high school class in Brentwood, MO, Marilyn Mollman Rymer loved science and math, and working with other people. "Medicine was the perfect combination of the things that most interested me," she recalled. And medicine is the path she pursued in a career that has brought acclaim for her leadership and pioneering work in the treatment of acute stokes.

As a founder and director of the Mid-America Brain and Stroke Institute (MABSI) at Saint Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, MO, she and the hospital have gained national and international recognition for innovative research and treatment of strokes, the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability in adults.

The New York Times, the television series 48 Hours, and the Discovery Channel have all featured her work and the accomplishments of the Stroke Center at Saint Luke's Hospital. Some 61 hospitals, including regional referring hospitals, are part of the Neurovascular Referral Network that sends patients to MABSI for acute stroke intervention.

The Saint Luke's Stroke Center helped pioneer the approach of treating strokes in a self-contained unit with a multidisciplinary team that concentrates the expertise of specially trained nurses, physical, occupational and speech therapists, social workers, and dietitians.

Before organizing a stroke center at Saint Luke's, the various doctors and medical personnel needed to treat a stroke victim were scattered throughout the hospital. The stroke center approach has yielded impressive results with most stroke patients leaving the hospital in about 4.9 days, down from an average stay of 9 days. Saint Luke's has also led in the use of clot busting drugs and devices that have helped stroke victims avoid additional strokes and complications.

Nominated as a Local Legend by former Rep. Karen McCarthy (D-MO-5), Marilyn Rymer is the first neurologist to occupy the Edward T. Matheny, Jr. Missouri Endowed Chair in Neuroscience at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

As a leader and advocate, she has created programs that have drawn national attention. In 1996 she became the first woman elected Chief of Staff at Saint Luke's Hospital. She is the past Vice-President of the Saint Luke's Hospital Foundation Board and served as Chair of the Funding Priorities Committee. She also served as National Chair for the VHA Stroke Initiative and travels the country leading workshops on the prevention and treatment of stroke.

She continues to do research on stroke and Alzheimer's disease, as well as teach and perform clinical work. She is Professor of Medicine at the UMKC School of Medicine.

Marilyn Rymer has presented invited papers at numerous stroke and neurology conferences. She is a Founding Member of the Greater Kansas City Alzheimer's Association, and serves on the Editorial Board of Missouri Medicine.

"I feel we're training a new breed of neurologist," Rymer comments "It's a major thrill to be working on ways to overcome strokes."

She, her husband and two children are avid hikers, skiers and runners. "Work is wonderful," she said, "but my greatest achievement is my family."



Appointed Staff Neurologist, Gundersen Clinic, Lacrosse, WI


Appointed Staff Neurologist, Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, MO


Appointed Clinical Professor of Medicine, Section of Neurology, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO


Co-Founder and Medical Director, Center for Clinical Neurological Studies, L.C., Kansas City, MO


Founder and Medical Director, Stroke Center, Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, MO


Elected Medical Staff President, Saint Luke's Hospital


Named to the Edward T. Matheny, Jr. Missouri Endowed Chair in Neuroscience


Appointed Professor of Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO


Appointed Medical Director, Mid America Brain and Stroke Institute, Kansas City, MO


Appointed Director of Research, Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, MO




Washington University, School of Medicine, St. Louis



Sub Specialty

Treatment of Acute Stroke