Mission and history
The main priority of the Faculty of Medicine in Bratislava of Comenius University in Bratislava is to educate future physicians who understand their profession as a mission. The Faculty of Medicine in Bratislava is, therefore, committed to not only be a teaching base providing high quality knowledge on today´s levels of medical science, but also an emerging institution shaping the moral and personal profiles of their graduates. In addition, the Faculty of Medicine in Bratislava is a base for research that originates at the school and contributes to the formation of research relationships between students and faculty. The school’s curative-preventive approach represents the application of theoretical and practical knowledge in everyday medical practice that should significantly exceed the national, and in some areas also the European, average.
The role of the Faculty of Medicine in Bratislava of Comenius University in Bratislava is to provide an undergraduate general medical education as well as postgraduate education through courses in specialized studies in the health professions, training courses and doctoral studies. Study programs of general medicine and dentistry are offered either in Slovak and English. Training of new scientists takes the form of doctoral studies, which has two forms: daily and external. Faculty of Medicine in Bratislava is an institution of lifelong medical education.
Throughout its modernization, the Faculty of Medicine in Bratislava of Comenius University in Bratislava will focus on finding its own way with a high degree of responsibility for the quality of education provided to young physicians during its transformation process. The key activities of the Faculty of Medicine in Bratislava includes improving the quality of scientific output and doctoral studies, increasing the number of foreign students, increasing the share of grant funds in the budget, and improving its building spaces.
The main priorities of the Faculty of Medicine in Bratislava and its defined activities focus on the priorities of the government – the formation of an educated society, particularly in the area of investing in people.
The Faculty of Medicine Comenius University in Bratislava, founded in 1919, plays a significant role in the history of university education in Slovakia.
Academia Istropolitana (Universitas Histropolitana) in Bratislava, established according to the University of Bologna in the 15th century (1467), was the first university in the Kingdom of Hungary. In spite of its short duration, the University contributed to spreading the ideas about humanism. The first Faculty of Medicine was established in 1769 in the Slovak Republic at Trnava University. Even though its teaching and research activities lasted only seven years, it contributed to the development of education in the former Kingdom of Hungary.
The result of efforts to revitalize the University of Bratislava in the late 19th century was the establishment of the Royal Elizabethan University in Bratislava in 1912. Its Faculty of Medicine was founded in April 1918. Lectures for students in their third to fifth years started in the winter semester of the 1918/19 academic year in the Hungarian language, which was the official language at that time. The first auditorium was on the premises of the Provincial governmental hospital at Mickiewiczova 13 (nowadays − the University Hospital). The Dean´s offices were situated in Aspremont’s palace by Schiffbeck’s Garden (now − the Medical Garden). In the newly created first Czechoslovak Republic (1918), the Elizabethan University was gradually based on government regulations. After relocating the Elizabethan University to Pätikostolia (Hungary), Slovak lecturers at Charles University in Prague and many Slovak politicians began to establish the Slovak University in Bratislava.
Members of the National Assembly of the Czechoslovak Republic adopted Act No. 375/1919 Coll. on July 27 1919, which led to the establishment of the Czechoslovak State University in Bratislava. The languages of instruction were Slovak and Czech. In November 1919, the University was named Comenius University after the world-renowned educator Jan Amos Comenius.
The first staff of professors of the Faculty of Medicine Comenius University in Bratislava, who also represented the leadership of Comenius University, consisted of professors originally working at Charles University in Prague. The first President of Comenius University was a professor of Internal Medicine Kristian Hynek, MD. and the first dean of the Faculty of Medicine was a professor of Gynecology Gustav Müller, MD.
Since September 21, 1919, the Faculty of Medicine Comenius University was the first and only faculty of the new University of Bratislava. The Faculty consisted of seven departments: Department of Surgery (Head Prof. Stanislav Kostlivý, MD.), Department of Internal Medicine (Head Prof. Kristian Hynek, MD.), Department of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women (Head Prof. Gustav Müller, MD.), Department of Ophthalmology (Head Prof. Roman Kadlický, MD.), Department of Pediatrics (Head Prof. Jiří Brdlík, MD.), Department of Nervous and Mental Diseases (Head Prof. Zdeněk Mysliveček, MD.) and Department of Dentistry (Head Prof. Adolf Mach, MD.).
The first theoretical workplaces were the following institutes: Institute of Hygiene (Head Prof. Stanislav Ružička, MD.), Institute of Forensic Medicine (Head Prof. František Prokop, MD.), Institute of Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy (Head Prof. Bohuslav Polák, MD.), Institute of Pathology and Anatomy (Head Prof. Antonín Spilka, MD.), Institute of Social Medicine (since 1919 existed only de jure), Institute of General and Experimental Pathology (Head Prof. Miloš Netoušek, MD.). New clinics and departments were gradually added.
Theoretical institutes were established in the academic year 1922/23, which created conditions for teaching in all years of study at the Faculty of Medicine. Provisional and unsuitable spatial conditions and equipment were partly improved in 1927 when the first of the new buildings were put into operation at Sasinkova Street No. 2. Despite all efforts at that time, the second of the planned buildings was not built until the early sixties of the last century (Sasinkova Street No. 4).
Clinical training courses for 144 students started in December of the 1919/1920 academic year. The first graduation ceremony was held in February 1920 with its first graduate Pavol Halaša. In addition to undergraduate studies, the Faculty of Medicine became the base of postgraduate education in the form of in-service training for general practitioners. Not only were Slovak students interested in studying at the Faculty of Medicine in Bratislava, but students from abroad also showed their interest. At the beginning of the 1930s, students from abroad accounted for nearly half of all students.
The Faculty maintained professional contacts not only with colleagues from Prague and Brno since the first years of operation but also with many renowned international medical universities and scientific medical institutions in Paris, London, Berlin, Budapest, and Vienna, respectively.
In the late 1930s, mainly due to the political changes after the forced departure of the Czech professors, the educational process and the development of medical specialties involved members of the first generation of Slovak physicians – graduates from the Faculty of Medicine. Many of them successfully participated in the development of medical, biological and pedagogical sciences in Slovakia. The results of their research work met with favorable reception abroad. Among professors J. Ledényi-Ladziansky, MD., of the Institute of Anatomy became a codifier of the Slovak anatomical terminology; A. J. Chura, MD., of the Department of Pediatrics, laid the foundation for Social Pediatrics in Slovakia; Ľ. Valach, MD., significantly contributed to the development of Radiotherapy; J. Fridrichovský, MD., became the first Slovak professor of Dentistry; E. Filo, MD., and L. Derer, MD., are the first Slovak professors of Internal Medicine.
Other prominentmembers of the Faculty of Medicine Comenius University, who contributed to the development of the Faculty and medical sciences, are a professor of Pathology, F. Šubík, MD.; a professor of Urology, M. Jakšy, MD.; Head of the Department of Medical Chemistry, Prof. Dr. tech. F. Valentín; and a professor of Pharmacology, F. Švec, MD., and many others.
Professors of the Faculty of Medicine Comenius University significantly contributed to the establishment of the Association of Czech-Slovak Physicians in 1920, the Association of Czech-Slovak Medical Students in Bratislava and the first Slovak scientific journal – Bratislava Medical Journal (1921).
The events of World War II had a negative impact not only on the life of the Faculty, but mainly caused enormous material damage. The political system after 1948 influenced the Faculty´s deviation from its original direction to European and world scientific-educational and social structures. The start of centralized management of universities subjected to the Higher Education Act of 1950 meant cancellation of the institutes and new departments were not created.
From the academic year 1952/1953, the programs of Dentistry and Pediatrics were opened in addition to the program of General Medicine. Since 1991, the Faculty has been preparing future pediatricians within the field of general medicine.
Since 1957, scientific research at the Faculty concentrated on the issues of regeneration and transplantation of organs, cardiorespiratory dynamics, metabolism, and oncology. Since the late 1960s, research projects integrated into state and departmental research plans. The collection of scientific papers Folia Universitatis Facultatis Medicae Comenianae Bratislavensis (1963 − 992) of the Faculty played a particularly important role in publishing the results of research projects of the Faculty staff.
In the early 1980s, the research of the Faculty paid attention especially to the issues of degenerative processes and diseases of the musculoskeletal and vascular diseases of the CNS. In collaboration with the universities of the former socialist community, scientific research of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in cardiovascular diseases and immune processes within the context of organ transplantation was developed.
After November 1989, the Faculty was one of the first universities in the framework of the former Czechoslovakia to form an academic board, later renamed as the Academic Senate of the Faculty of Medicine Comenius University (the first meeting of January 11, 1990). In 1990, the Faculty returned to its original organizational structure, which currently comprises 73 institutes and departments.