Dr. Barry Mink
Barry was born in Chicago. Encouraged by his father, Barry participated in many sports, excelling as an All-Conference high school quarterback and an All-State baseball catcher. He was offered many college football scholarships and was scouted by major league baseball teams. He chose to sign a professional baseball contract with the Cincinnati Reds after high school graduation. Cincinnati arranged for Barry to attend Northwestern University so we could attend college during baseball’s offseason. His teammates included the likes of Pete Rose and Tony Perez. After three years with Cincinnati, Barry injured his throwing arm in a freak accident and was released.
Barry’s baseball injury forced a life changing career decision, shifting his focus from sports to medicine. He graduated with honors from Northwestern, completed medical school and became a physician specializing in Internal Medicine. During med school, Barry met a cute little Irish girl from Chicago named Peggy. They fell in love, got married, and had three daughters, Kate, Anne, and Allison, all by the time he finished his internship and residency.
Barry was drafted during the Vietnam War after finishing his residency. He served as a major in the Air Force. During this Air Force stint, a fellow physician invited the Minks on an Aspen ski vacation. They agreed even though they’d never skied. The Minks immediately fell in love with Aspen. Ski instructor John Callahan encouraged Barry to speak with Dr. Whitcomb. The two hit it off and Barry joined the Aspen Clinic.
Dr. Barry Mink’s medical training and love of sports benefitted the Aspen community in a myriad of ways. For over 40 years, Barry had a highly successful internal medicine practice. As a new internist, Barry was put in charge of acute cardiac care. He saw the need for an acute cardiac care unit and better management of cardiac and medical emergencies, both at the hospital and on the ski hill. He established the first coronary care unit in Aspen and revamped the ICU with up-to-date equipment. He organized training for the nurses to identify and treat cardiac events. As medical advisor to the Aspen Ski Patrol, Barry encouraged EMT certification for patrollers, enabling them to perform advanced resuscitation methods on the hill. Eventually he convinced the Aspen Skiing Company to allow patrol members to use defibrillators on the hill, saving lives.
While on staff at Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH), Barry served as chairman of most medical committees, Chief of Medicine, and Chief of Staff. He was elected to the AVH Board of Directors for three terms and served as president for one. During his tenure, AVH overcame significant financial difficulties, reversing the trend towards bankruptcy and achieving long-term financial stability. This enabled the soon to be completed hospital expansion and Master Facility Plan.
Barry was a pioneer in sports medicine, providing service to athletes locally and nationally. He was one of the first physicians in the country to be Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Sports Medicine. He was also elected as a Fellow to both the American College of Physicians and the American College of Sports Medicine. In 1977, Dr. Robert Odén asked Barry for help with the U.S. Ski Team. For 18 years, he served as a Team Physician for the U.S. Biathlon Team. He was chosen as a Chief Medial Officer and U.S. Team Physician to accompany the US Olympic Team to the 1980 and 1994 Winter Olympics. He supported the team at many National and International World Cup events.
With Tage Pedersen from the U.S. Alpine team and fellow Aspenites Dr. Balke and Dr. Anthony, Barry formed Aspen’s first sports medicine institute at the Aspen Club in the 1980’s. It focused on helping athletes recover from sports related injuries and improve all aspects of their performance. The Institute successfully evaluated and treated local athletes and elite athletes on National teams.
Barry supported young skiers from the Rocky Mountain Nordic and Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club with their medical problems and training. His dream was to help advance performance of athletes so they might reach their true potential in cross-country skiing. Many of the RMN skiers went on to perform at the collegiate level and beyond, earning spots on World Cup and Olympic Teams.
Approached by Craig Ward, Barry supported the formation of the Aspen Snowmass Nordic Council (ASNC), connecting Snowmass with Aspen via groomed cross-country trails. He served many years as a Trustee of the ASNC.
Barry never stopped pursuing his own athletic goals. His interest in endurance physiology and performance led him to become a competitive runner, biker, and Nordic skier. Barry completed the first Leadville Trail 100 Run, the first Leadville 100 MTB, and countless other 100-mile trail races and ultra marathons. He finished every Snowmass to Aspen Golden Leaf half marathon for 33 straight years. He won his age group in American Uphill races and competed in numerous National ski races.
The Minks feel fortunate to have found this wonderful Aspen town and its people. They consider it a privilege to be part of this community and live and work among so many friends, colleagues, and patients.