The establishment of the Institute
In the postwar period the social sphere of the Republic of Belarus began to develop actively. In order to improve the health service and to provide medical training and research in western region of Belarus, State Medical Institute in Grodno was established, 250 students were admitted for the academic year 1958/59. This was in accordance with the Decree of the BSSR Council of Ministers №541 from August 9, 1958, by the order of Ministry of Health of the Belorussian SSR №75 from August 14, 1958.
It is difficult to imagine the huge amount of work on the creation of a new institution from scratch for anyone who doesn’t know much about the life of an educational institution. It's a pleasure to kindly remember those who took part in this complex process. Scientists and doctors from Russia, Ukraine, Baltic States, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan helped with the creation of the institute. Logistical assistance and personnel was also provided by Minsk Medical Institute and Vitebsk Medical Institute. Medical staff of Grodno was involved in the implementation of the educational process. Organizational assistance and financial support were provided by the Ministry of Health of the Republic. For instance, in 1963 the Ministry of Health gave thousands of rubles for the purchase of equipment. Local executive authorities and the party leadership of the region had taken a decision on the direction of the personnel, giving the institute buildings, material and technical resources. Initially buildings were located on Kolkhoznaya square, Karl Marx and E.Ozheshko streets. In 1960 the first building for biology classes was built. Later, the institute was given the administrative building under construction on Gorky Street (1974). Currently, the University has 5 academic buildings. Today they have acquired a modern look.
The first lecture
Looking back after many years, one cannot forget that on 1, October 1958 the first classes in Grodno State Medical Institute started. The first lecture was delivered by Professor of the Minsk Medical Institute, D.M. Golub. It was devoted to human anatomy. On 15, October the first meeting of the Academic Council was held. It is interesting that in the first semester only 7 associate professors and candidates of science worked for 9 opened departments, and the number of employees didn’t exceed 30. The first administration included L.F. Supron - Rector (1958-1962), N.I. Arinchin - Vice-Rector for Research and Academic Affairs (1959-1960), V.I. Garusin - Vice-Rector for administrative work (1958-1961), G.I. Kyrylyuk - Dean (1958-1962). Later, during 36 years (1962-1998) the Institute was headed by Professor D.A. Maslakov. From 1998 to 2010 Professor P.V. Garelik was the Rector of the University. In 2010 Professor, MD, V.A. Snezhitskiy was appointed Rector of the University.
Despite considerable difficulties, the university was gradually developing. By 1964, the number of Institute employees increased by 10 times. By that time 170 teachers, including 9 doctors and professors, 46 associate professors, 29 candidates of sciences had worked for 34 departments. In 2012 45 doctors, 38 professors, 117 associate professors and 178 candidates of sciences worked in GrSMU.
In 1964 248 physicians graduated, 22 of them with honors. Later many of them have become excellent doctors, bright scientists and teachers. It should be noted that the first students of our university had specific life experience. These were mostly people with secondary specialized medical education who had served in the Soviet Army, by the time of admission they had already had working experience. It is of interest to note that these people were often of the same age as their teachers. They took life and study very seriously. The students of the first years actively participated in the establishment of the university, solving many logistical problems (renovation, production of manuals, working as volunteers and others).
The atmosphere of student life
Each generation of medical students had their own active social position, created their own atmosphere of student life. Future doctors performed many good deeds, like the participation in the work of the Komsomol organization, harvesting potatoes, donation, voluntary national teams, construction teams, working as volunteers, science clubs and amateur talent groups. In 1970-80-s University student construction brigade was the best not only in the region, but in the whole country and its members received a considerable number of awards, including government awards. Only positive feedback about our students had been coming from Siberia, Karelia, Moldavia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Labor semesters not only formed the individuality, but also allowed to gain the first professional medical experience. Many of the students during the summer semester worked as physicians in construction teams from other universities. Later on, the first in the country specialized medical teams began to be formed in the institute.
Many future doctors were members of amateur talent groups. The institute was proud of its propaganda team, vocal-instrumental and brass bands, the achievements in various sports. Amateur arts festivals had become a tradition. In 1980 for the first time in Grodno disco club "Panorama" was created in our institute. At the end of the 1990s, the university revived KVN humor show, contests "Miss University", evenings of intellectual games were held. The current generation of students also lives an interesting life. Days of faculties, including student conferences on topical problems of modern life, interesting multimedia presentations, events, devoted to creating and presenting student’s own internet sites, healthy lifestyle activities, sports competitions, concerts are organized every year.
Our university has always implemented and maintained the best traditions of the higher medical education.
In accordance with the curricula and programs approved at that time, training in therapeutic, and then (1979) in the pediatric department was carried out. In the academic year 1959/60, the higher education system of medical practice was introduced, and in 1970-71 - sub-internship and internship. For more than half a century of its existence the Institute, and then the University had trained more than 16 thousands of doctors and nurses with higher education, including about 300 foreigners from 25 countries. Up until the 1990s, student enrolment in the university had been increasing (for example, in 1993 it exceeded 600 people). Subsequently, the number of budget places was reduced. At the same time the demand for health professionals was high, and at the beginning of the XXI century the problem of human resources escalated, especially there was a lack of doctors in rural health facilities. In this connection, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus increased student enrolment greatly.
High quality training of graduates of Grodno State Medical University has been proved by time. This is confirmed by the great authority of doctors among population, appointment of our graduates for managerial positions at different levels of health care organizations and our physicians’ work in major universities and research centers in Europe and all over the world.
In 1990s new faculties exclusive for the USSR were opened: nursing (1991 - Full-time, 1996 - extramural studies) and mental health (1993).
Since 1992 the Institute began training specialists for foreign countries, and the export of educational services expanded considerably. In 2008 the faculty of medical diagnostics was organized, which provides training in two specialties "medical diagnostics" and "nursing." Today there are 5 faculties at the university. The faculties offer training in 5 specialties, clinical residency - in 33, postgraduate department - 20 specialties. First master’s degree holders have been qualified.
New stage of development
In January 2000, the Institute was successfully accredited as University. The new position requires great responsibility. Major efforts are undertaken at the University to improve the quality of medical education. Modern computer technologies are introduced widely in the educational process, the students prepare multimedia presentations, create training videos, participate in role-playing games.
The computerization of the University has been accomplished, computer labs have been equipped, and the educational portal has been created. A three-level academic performance rating has been introduced. PC-based library hall and information databases have been designed. The project "National textbook" is being fulfilled. Teachers publish manuals and textbooks for students. Grading criteria for all courses have been developed. Active forms of learning are used. Monitored independent students’ work is being introduced; theoretical and practical clinical training of students is being upgraded. Future doctors get acquainted with modern computer 4D program functioning on the basis of the Grodno Regional Clinical Hospital. Students and teachers are active members of the Bologna Process. International cooperation is constantly improving. The students have the possibility for taking practical training in Poland and Germany.
Today the University accords special importance to the training of highly professional general practitioners.
It is worthy of note that the University trains not only physicians but also researchers and the teaching staff for its own needs. In 1967, M.V. Borysiuk defended his Ph.D. thesis in 1982, N.F. Filippovich – his thesis for a Doctor's degree. In 1996 L.M. Lobanok was elected associate member of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. In 1976 V.P. Andreev was appointed head of the Department of Biology, in 1987 - the I.P. Protasiewicz was appointed dean, in 1987 M.V. Borysiuk became vice-rector for scientific work, in 1998 P.V. Garelik was the rector. Since 2010, the graduate of the GrSMU V.A. Snezhitskiy is the rector. In 2015, he was elected associate member of National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus.
Development of science
Despite the fact that in recent years there has been a natural change of generations of teaching staff, for the period from 2006 employees of the university protected 13 doctoral and 118 master's theses. At present the administration of the University consists mainly of the University graduates. By the number of persons with doctoral and Ph.D. degrees Grodno State Medical University takes the leading position in the Republic of Belarus. Scientific research has been developing throughout the history of the University. Since 1960 scientific conferences for staff and students have been organized annually. The university held and conducted international and national congresses and scientific forums on a variety of medical specialties and problems. The first such symposia were on Physiology (1964) and vitaminology (1966). University Library is being constantly updated with collection of scientific papers and monographs.
In 1960 the Central Scientific and Research Laboratory was opened. Scientific and Research Laboratory operates at the University today. Schools of surgeons, pediatricians, cardiologists, biochemists, histology and infectious disease specialists, formed in Grodno, are well-known far beyond the borders of our country.
In 1970 the Metabolic Control Department was established under the auspices of the University, and in 1985 – the Institute of Biochemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus was founded. Nowadays GrSMU has its own Dissertation Council. Six university professors were awarded the title "Honored Worker of Science of the Republic of Belarus" (Yuri Ostrovsky, M. Korablev, D.A. Maslakov, S.I. Boltrukevich, P.V. Garelik and Y.Y. Gordeev). Y.Y.Gordeev and P.V. Garelik are correspondent members of the Belarusian Academy of Medical Sciences. V.A. Snezhitsky - correspondent member of National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus. D.A. Maslakov was elected Dr. «Honoris Causa" of the Bialystok Medical Academy, P.V. Garelik - Member of A. Schweitzer International Medical Academy and doctor of the Minsk Theological Seminary and Academy. Representatives of the University also work at the Academies in Russia, Europe and the United States. The University works in close cooperation with academic and scientific centers in Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland and Germany. The Grodno State Medical University is a member of the Association of Baltic Universities.
The creative skills of the future researchers are formed during the years of study. That's why the University pays great attention to the work of student scientific society. Future doctors present the results of their scientific research at annually conferences. Our students are actively involved in similar student scientific conferences in medical universities of neighboring countries.
Clinical work is an integral part of University life. Undoubtedly, the work of clinicians largely determines the success of the Grodno region, which for several years has been considered one of the best in the country.
Thanks to the scientists of the university, new methods of screening, treatment and rehabilitation were put into practice. So over the past 5 years, the staff of the University received 158 patents for inventions and utility models, 125 positive decisions, 3 certificates for trademarks.
Two teachers of our university were awarded the title "Honorary Doctor of Belarus" (N.I Batvinkov, G.A. Obuchov).
Professor Advisory Centre was created in 2011 in order to improve the quality of medical assistance provided to the population.
Since 1993 monthly magazine “Aesculapius” has been published at the University. In 2003 the University started the publication of a quarterly medical magazine. In 2000 the University Charter and Emblem were approved and in 2006 – the University Anthem.
In 2000 the honorable title “Doctor honoris causa of Grodno State Medical University” has been introduced. It was given to Metropolitan Filaret and to scientists from Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Germany. Prominent figures from the government and the fields of science and culture, international ambassadors often visit our University. World-renowned scientists give lectures to the students and teaching stuff from time to time.
Grodno State Medical University is the first medical institution of higher education in the Republic of Belarus, where the ISO 9001 Quality Management System was introduced and certified, which complies with the National Quality Management System (СТБ ISO 9001-2009) and with the German Quality Management System (DIN EN 9001-2008).
Since 2010 GrSMU offers master’s level programs. In 2011 GrSMU was awarded the Prize of the Government of the Republic of Belarus for achievements in the field of quality.
The last five years has been fruitful for our university.
In 2012 GrSMU was accredited as a scientific organization. The website of our library became the winner of the CIS competition among sites of medical libraries "TopMed".
In 2013 the laboratory of molecular genetic investigation was opened. GrSMU became the winner of the competition "Brand of the Year - 2013" in the nomination "Science and Education". The first in Belarus medical laboratory for practical training was opened. Anatomical exposition “Grodno cabinet of curiosities” resumed its work.
The University was awarded the Certificate of Merit from Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus for its significant contribution to the implementation of the government social policy and training of highly qualified medical professionals.
GrSMU received the status of an expert in the field of education and science, becoming an accredited member of the international program "Global World Communicator (GWC) “Education and Science”. Grodno State Medical University magazine is included in the bibliographic database “E-library”.
Admission Committee works with the help of ACS "Entrant" software.
The library introduced the electronic delivery of books.
In 2014, the University was included into the list of the best universities of the CIS countries, as well as in the top 500 best universities in the world rankings as a result of Worldwide Professional University Rankings RankPro (rating of the International Council of Scientists).
Obstetric and Gynecologic Ultrasound Workshop and virtual laparoscopic surgery workshops were opened in practical training lab.
GrSMU won the professional contest "Brand of the Year - 2014" in the category "Export".
In 2015, Professor Advisory Centre moved to the renovated building. Refresher courses in 5 specialties were organized. Electronic record of students’ academic performance was introduced. GrSMU magazine is indexed in 14 international databases. Electronic version of the magazine was given the international serial number. The cooperation agreement with Russian Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (VINITI RAS) was signed.
The University has a lot of plans for further development in the field of education and science.