The Russian National Research Medical University named after N.I. Pirogov – yesterday, today, tomorrow

In 2006 medical and educational community of Russia celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Russian State Medical University (RSMU). The history of the RSMU began in 1906 when a medical faculty was opened as a part of Moscow Higher Women’s Courses. Later, in 1918, Moscow Higher Women’s Courses were reorganized and became the Second Moscow State University (2nd MSU) with a medical faculty. In 1930, as a result of the reorganization of the 2nd MSU, its medical faculty became an independent higher medical educational institution – the 2nd Moscow State Medical Institute (2nd MSMI) – the 2nd Moscow Order of Lenin State Medical Institute named after N.I. Pirogov (2nd MOLSMI). Since 1991 the Russian State Medical University has been the successor of the 2nd MOLSMI named after N.I. Pirogov. 

Let us pay attention to the dates. It was a historical period, characterized by the greatest events of a worldwide significance, concentrated in time and affecting the main aspects of human life. These aspects include ideology, fundamental values of humanity, principles of state organization and many others. At the same time, the 20th century was a period of unprecedented development of science and emergence of new trends and fields of knowledge. Scientific progress revolutionized many spheres of engineering and technology (including medical technologies), changing the mentality of mankind. All this influenced the attitude of the society and government to education. Our country was historically prepared to be an active participant, and sometimes a pioneer and a leader, of all the significant events, in which the past century was so abundant.

The above mentioned conditions couldn’t fail to set specific requirements to national educational systems in general and higher medical education in particular. The 20th century was also marked by alteration of the leading principles of the organization of public health care systems.

Under the given circumstances, medical education and medical educational institutions had to develop dynamically and possess certain material and personnel resources, which would provide the possibility to respond quickly to the demands of the practical health care.    

The leading position of the RSMU in the national system of medical education is a convincing proof that the University has been demonstrating these qualities throughout its history. Another proof is a growing number of students and teachers, as well as an increasing number of faculties and departments. Moreover, the distinguishing feature of the University has always been its up-to-date attitude to vitally important demands of practical medicine and biomedical science. In 1963, during the period of active space exploration and development of new braches of science, the 2nd MSMI opened the first Medico-Biological Faculty in the world, which began to train researchers in the fields of biophysics, biochemistry and medical cybernetics. The actual demands of time dictated the establishment of new faculties, including the ones, which have no analogues in the world ( Pediatric, Medicobiologic); the organization of  faculties in response to the political situation (Military Faculty), to changing priorities in public health (Psychologico-Social Faculty ) or to the introduction of a new concept of continuous professional education (Faculty of Additional Teachers’ Training , Faculty of Advanced Training of Doctors, Faculty of Preinstitutional Training). The very idea of the organization of a medical faculty in Moscow Higher Women’s Courses opened new prospects of increasing the number of doctors in Russia by recruiting women in the situation, when the country had a need in medical specialists.

An important event happened in 1991 when the 2nd MSMI received the status of the first branch university in the history of national medicine. The University has been confirming this status for more than 17 years. Throughout its 100-year history the University has been effectively solving the tasks set before it by the constitutor and the government.

During its existence the University has trained more than 70,000 doctors who fulfilled and continue to fulfill their professional duty in all parts of our country and abroad. In 1966 the University was awarded the highest order of the country - Order of Lenin - for its achievements in training medical specialists and on the occasion of its 60th anniversary.

The achievements of the RSMU are a contribution of several generations of professors, lecturers, researchers, students, administrative and management personnel. The aim of the University now and in future is to be a worthy successor of the honor and glory of the previous generations and to continue and strengthen the University’s good traditions.

The main task of the RSMU is to train doctors, specialists whose duty is to protect, preserve and multiply the health of the nation.

Structurally the University includes 4 scientific research institutes, among which the Institute of Gerontology included in 2008 according to the decision of the Government of the Russian Federation; 24 program and self-supporting laboratories as parts of 6 scientific departments; 8 educational faculties (Medical, Pediatric, Moscow, Medicobiologic, Psychologico-Social, Pharmaceutical and Dentistry Faculties) and the Faculty of Advanced Training of Doctors with the total of 140 departments. 50 of these departments take part in the training of English speaking foreign students.

There are also some large University departments providing teaching and scientific activity: Department of Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies, Department of Information and Education Systems, Instruction Department, Department of Instruction Methods, the Department of Medical Practice and Internship, Department of Foreign Students Teaching and others. The Teaching and Laboratory Complex houses the theoretical departments of the faculties, equipped with the most up-to-date facilities for training and research. The University Library contains more than 700,000 books and has a reading hall for studies and scientific work. The Teaching and Laboratory Complex, the main building of the University and the hostel are located close to each other; it is convenient for undergraduate and postgraduate students, interns and residents, who study in the RSMU and live in the hostel “Medical Worker”. The University also has a sport facility “Konakovo”, a sport complex and a dispensary for students.

The RSMU is closely connected with practical health care. The University has its bases in 38 largest city hospitals, some dispensaries and maternity homes, among which is the Republican Children’s Clinical Hospital equipped with the modern medical facilities and a computer centre. In these hospitals the future doctors have their clinical practice under the supervision of experienced teachers.  The teaching staff of the RSMU consists of 1500 professors and lecturers including 2 academicians of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 1 corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 30 academicians of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, 20 corresponding members of the  Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, 334 professors and 575 associate professors.

One of the most actual problems of modern health care is the problem of specialists. The medical educational institutions of Moscow – the RSMU, MMA named after I.M. Sechenov, Moscow State Medico-Stomatological University – every year turn out a great number of young specialists. But unfortunately, only few of them work in the capital’s out-patient clinics. Taking this into consideration, Moscow Government tested the quality of doctors’ training in the capital’s medical educational institutions and, assessing many parameters, chose the RSMU. According to Order № 645 of 29.06.1998  “About the measures of providing the health service of Moscow with medical personnel”, issued by Yu.M. Luzhkov, the Mayor of Moscow, Moscow Faculty was established in the RSMU to prepare medical specialists to work in Moscow out-patient clinics. Then the Department of Medical Practice and Internship of the RSMU together with the Department of Health of Moscow Government  selected the hospitals for the organization of clinical bases for medical practice of the faculty’s students and appointed the staff responsible for this kind of work. Now Moscow receives many well-trained specialists, who come to work at the primary level of health service.  

Now there are  about 9000 undergraduate students, 583 postgraduate students, 798 residents, 400 interns, 89 external researchers.  Among them there are 950 people from foreign countries.

According to the rules of admission for foreign citizens to the RSMU the admission to the first year is accomplished on the basis of the certificate of the complete secondary education. The legalization of the documents (the proof of their authenticity) and their correspondence to the  Russian  educational standards are required when submitting the documents for admission. The correspondence of the certificates of the secondary education to the standards of Russian education  is accomplished in Russia by the Education Supervision Committee of  the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation.

The citizens intending to apply to the RSMU are obliged to complete a one-year course of medico-biological orientation at the preparatory department of the RSMU or other educational institutions. At the preparatory department they study the Russian language, biology, physics, mathematics and chemistry.

The students of the University study art subjects and socio-economical disciplines, mathematics, natural and medico-biological sciences, as well as special clinical subjects in accordance with the curriculum. The curriculum includes 11718 academic hours, and the students are allowed to choose additional (elective) courses. The elective courses are on the 78 themes  with the total duration of 144 academic hours. The students of the Medico-Biological Faculty study a special course on 18 themes at 14 departments with the total duration of 500 academic hours. The evaluation of  students’ knowledge uses a 5-point scale. The State Certifying Commission  which,  according to the order of the Ministry of Health and Social Development  of the RF may consist of representatives of the teaching staff of other medical educational institutions of the country and organizes its work in three stages (test control of knowledge, control of practical skills and interview on the basic special disciplines), confers on a graduate the degree of Doctor of Medicine (for foreign graduates).

The University is sustaining close connections with many foreign organizations: the University named after Poincare, the Voutren Centre in Nancy, France; the Institute of Biological Physics in Leipzig; the Clinic of Rhein-Westfalen Higher Medical School  in Aachen (in terms of the activity of Russia-Germany Institute of Surgical Research);  Berlin University (Germany): Basel University (Switzerland); Fox-Chase Oncology Centre in Philadelphia (with students’ participation); the University of Iowa (USA); Oxford and London Universities (Great Britain) and others.

Great advances in treatment of many diseases are linked with the activity of the scientists of our University. We can mention  cardiovascular and  infectious diseases, advances in surgery, pediatrics and other fields of medicine. The Federal Agency of Science and Innovations and the Grant Council of President of the Russian Federation announced the results of the 2008 year contest for state support of scientific research activity, which is held by the leading scientific schools of Russia: on the list of the winners in the field of medicine there are 31 scientific schools. The RSMU has the greatest number of the winners – the achievements of 6 scientific schools of our University are recognized as deserving the state support.

These are the schools of  the Academician of RAMS, Professor N.N. Volodin  (Complex approach to prevention and treatment of chronic lung diseases in premature infants); the school of Academician of RAMS, Professor A.P. Nesterov (Optimization of  medical observation and monitoring of glaucoma patients); the school of Academician of RAMS, Professor G.M. Savelyeva (Optimization of management of pregnancy and childbirth – the health of future generations): the school of Academician of RAMS, Professor P.N. Sergeeva (Search for new compounds of steroid structure and construction of steroid-containing nanocomplexes with hormonal and antihormonal activity for increasing efficiency and safety of hormone therapy; the leader of the theme is the Corresponding Member of RAMS, Professor N.L. Shimanovsky); the school of Academician of RAMS, Professor Yu. K. Skripkin (Improvement of diagnostics and treatment of vesicular dermatoses  on the basis of the pathogenesis of the disease );the school of Academician of RAMS, Professor G.I. Storozhakov (Chronic heart failure: the study of the mechanisms of progressing, the ways to improve the quality of life and increasing the life span).

The RSMU has always taken the leading position in medicine. In 1997, after a long interval, the Students’ Scientific Society renewed its work, and the yearly Pirigov’s Conferences were reinitiated. In 2005 these conferences received the status of international conferences. Now, besides the participants from Russia and other countries of UIS, the RSMU welcomes guests from Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Poland, Albania, Romania and other countries. Interest to the Conferences is increasing from year to year, which is testified by the figures: in 2004 about 380 works were sent to the conference; in 2005 – about 500; in 2006 – about 1000, and in 2007 – about 1400. All the works are thoroughly selected and published in the special issue of  “Vestnik of RSMU”, a copy of which is send to the authors after the conference, and the electronic version is placed on the conference site in the Internet:

The Conference has been held for many years and is one of the most significant students’ scientific events of  a year. Every year the participation in the Conference increases, its geography widens, and the following facts confirm it.

On 2007 the International Yearly Scientific Conference “Stem Cells and Perspectives of Their Use in Medicine” took place guests came from Great Britain (Bishop), Macedonia (Skopje), Bosnia and Hercegovina (Sarajevo), Serbia (Belgrade), Romania (Kluj-Napoka), Austria (Vienna), Poland (Warsaw), Kazakhstan (Alma-Ata, Astana), Ukraine (Kiev), Belorussia (Minsk). Foreign students submitted 36 abstracts, the participants made 33 reports and 51 abstracts were published in a collection of works on the fundamental and clinical research in the field of cell technologies; and  also a “round table” discussion was conducted with the participation of the companies producing equipment and materials for cell technologies.

On 20 March 2008 the Third International (12th All-Russia)  Pirogov’s Conference took place , in which participated more than 1500  students and young scientists (younger than 35 years old) from 45 cities of Russia, from 112 medical educational institutions and from 12 countries, including Germany, Poland, Serbia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and others. There were oral reports and stand presentations at 8 sections: obstetrics and gynecology, internal diseases, children’s surgery, medico-biological problems, organization of the health service, pediatrics, psychiatry and clinical psychology, surgery. The sections were led by well-known specialists of the national health care and medical science. The materials were published in a special issue of “Vestnik of the RSMU”, which is included in the list of journals recommended by the All-Russia Certification Commission of the Ministry of Education of the RF for publishing scientific works for the degrees of candidate and doctor of science.   

Foreign students take an active part in sports events not only in the University, but in international competitions in Moscow and other cities of Russia. Each year there are sports competitions between students from Malaysia studying in different medical universities. The last competitions took place in Nizhny Novgorod in May 2008. The team of the RSMU took the second place. In 2007 the RSMU received the teams of Malaysian students from Kursk, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow.

Two years ago a badminton team was organized for competing with teams from other educational institutions of Moscow. According to the rules, the team began to compete in the lowest division. At the end of the year the team took the first place and passed to a higher division. Each division has 10 teams and the competitions take place in two cycles – on one’s own premises and on the opponent’s premises. Each team has 18 meetings altogether (9 in spring and 9 in autumn). The team level proved to be professional enough to reach the highest league in these two years. This year the team is playing in division A2. The team members have training practices every week. The members of the team defend the honor of our University at different competitions with great enthusiasm. The administration of the RSMU does everything necessary to support the University team: they bought a net, feather shuttlecocks, trainers, a uniform. There are also football competitions.

In connection with a space flight of the first cosmonaut from Malaysia, in 2008 an excursion was organized for Malaysian students to the Centre of Cosmonauts’ Training named after Yu. A. Gagarin, which is going to become a good tradition in the future.

Another good tradition is meetings of all the Malaysian students studying in the RSMU.  The Ambassador of Malaysia and representatives of the Embassy and the administration of the RSMU are invited to these meetings.