BIRTH OF A MEDICAL CENTER
Clinique La Prairie at the end of the 1970’s, Armin Mattli had tirelessly worked to develop its potential. The Revitalization programs, world famous as they were, couldn’t remain the only service the clinic provided. Together with two doctors as visionary as himself, he made an extremely ambitious gamble: creating a multi-disciplinary medical center at the leading edge of technology.
Text: Laetitia Simon
Mr. Mattli, the president of Clinique La Prairie, met Professor Otto Westphal shortly after the latter began his retirement. Together they strived to strengthen, legitimize and develop the scientific and medical faculties of the institution. Aside from setting up the Scientific Advisory Board which unites a team of internationally renowned researchers to work on the Revitalization process, they also laid the foundations for a medical center of excellence for the clinic.
An exciting new medical adventure.
Mr. Mattli wanted to widen the range of medical services available at the center as well as develop its scientific research. Among other things, he planned the construction of a new building on the site to house a cosmetic surgery faculty. However, for this project, Professor Otto Westphal suggested gaining a fresh medical perspective. He knew just the doctor for this particular mission.
A decisive encounter
This was how, upon his return from an Easter hike, Dr Thierry Wälli found Otto Westphal waiting for him on a bench in front of his Diablerets chalet. Professor Westphal had come to ask him to take part in an exciting new medical adventure : creating a medical center for Clinique La Prairie. Thierry Wälli, although he had never heard of this famous clinic or the celebrated doctor in front of him, was intrigued. He accepted a position as a consultant. During this first term, he learned all about the incredible history of cell therapy : implants and the very first live cell injections, and read thousands of letters from patients documenting the benefits of the Revitalization process. He would also discover the scope of the research programs led by the Scientific Advisory Board and the renown of Professor Otto Westphal. It turned out that the man that came to meet him was a leading authority on the subject of immunology. The results of his works had been published around the world, and his mere presence in Clinique La Prairie was enough to guarantee the scientific rigor of its research program.
President, Armin Mattli.
Dr Thierry Wälli.
Dr Wälli was convinced. He dived headfirst into the adventure, bringing all his energy, human sensibility and his cutting-edge talents to managing this new host institution. Observing the clinic’s patients, mostly here for Revitalization therapy, he expressed an interest in working with preventive medicine. Together with Armin Mattli, they laid the foundations for a project which would go far beyond simple cosmetic surgery. They built a unit specializing in illness prevention and reinforcing the body’s own ability to protect itself. Their plan was the logical continuation of Clinique La Prairie’s founding values, which since 1931 has promised to help its clients lead longer, fuller, healthier lives. The new medical center would be above all a genuine, multi-disciplinary preventive health service.
A very human adventure
To begin his journey, Dr Wälli would first travel to the United States. As a doctor specializing in sports medicine and clinical geriatrics, he became interested in the physical therapy programs initiated by Dr Kenneth Cooper, the man who showed the world the link between physical activity and good health. He was inspired by what he had seen, and wanted to develop a range of innovative and effective services of his own.
In the summer of 1991, the clinic inaugurated the new medical center. Extremely well equipped to include an operating room and radiology department, this center offered several specialist services that you would only normally find in the largest hospitals. And as part of his vision to care for every aspect of the patient, a psychiatric unit was also included in the range of medical services on offer.
Promoted to the position of medical director in the spring of 1992, Thierry Wälli has continued to lead his management and development activities with the same passion and foresight, while maintaining his commitment to internal medical consultations. Doctor-patient relationships have always been very close to Mr. Mattli’s heart, welcoming everybody like he would welcome his own family, and these are at the very heart of the medical profession. This human touch has also become part of a medical center’s identity. The care staff and the patients at Clinique La Prairie are living proof of the commitment to putting the individual at the heart of the medical service, whatever the issue. In fact, both men have remained firm in their belief that every patient is unique and must receive the attention they deserve. The various celebrities who come to Clinique La Prairie discover the authenticity that’s lacking in their day to day lives, and others find the personal attention that is so often missing in large hospitals.
In 2005, a new spa building opened and freed up several floors of the Medical Center, giving it more room to commit to its clinical functions. Today, we boast more than 50 specialists, two operating facilities equipped for any kind of operation and a radiology and medical imaging center spread over more than 900m2 under one roof. This is what makes Clinique La Prairie one of the most important and respected medical centers around Lake Geneva.