Poland: Medical School of the Catholic University of Lublin Launched

KUL Medical Department_PhotoCredit kul.pl Inauguration_PhotoCredit Tomasz Koryszko-KUL
KUL Medical Department_PhotoCredit kul.pl Inauguration_PhotoCredit Tomasz Koryszko-KUL

“We want to see the whole person, their somatic, mental and spiritual aspects,” said Rector of the Catholic University of Lublin, Fr. Prof. Mirosław Kalinowski, during the official inauguration of the Faculty of Medicine, held on 5 October 2022. The new Faculty already offers education in midwifery, nursing, biotechnology, and dietetics; as of October 2023, it will also include training for physicians. Support for the new Faculty was pledged by the Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski, who noted that the increase in the number of medical students will be reflected in better access of patients to doctors in the future.

Rector of the Catholic University of Lublin pointed out that the establishment of the School of Medicine is the fulfilment of the plans of the founder of the Catholic University of Lublin, Fr. Prof. Idzi Radziszewski, who wanted the university to do research and provide education in the widest possible range of disciplines. He also pointed out that the presence of medicine at a Catholic university is natural because it stems directly from the Gospel. As Fr. Prof. Kalinowski indicated, “Jesus not only healed himself, but also taught to care for everyone in need, including the sick.” He stressed that the education at the new faculty would be take a holistic view of the human being, in every aspect of his or her life. He cited the results of an international study, confirming the importance of the spirit for a faster therapeutic process.

Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski, who was present at the inauguration of the faculty, recalled that one of its goals is to increase patients’ access to physicians. This is why the number of enrolment opportunities in medical schools is increasing year on year. This is helped by the launch of doctor training at more universities. As the minister observed, “This academic year is a landmark year. We have recorded the highest number of medical students in many years.” He moreover emphasised that the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine at the Catholic University of Lublin fits in with the activities of the Ministry of Health and therefore the university can count on its support. He also undertook to allocate PLN 40 million in the form of bonds to support this initiative.

The Plenipotentiary of the Rector of the Catholic University of Lublin for the development of medical and health sciences departments, Prof. Ryszard Maciejewski, MD, PhD, pointed out that since prospective doctors will be educated at one faculty with representatives of other medical professions, they will acquire important teamwork skills. He emphasised that the School of Medicine has the necessary infrastructure and staff to provide high-quality education.

The launch of the Faculty of Medicine is the culmination of several years of efforts to enrich the university’s offer with courses in medical and health sciences. The Faculty of Medicine will complement the curriculum of the Faculty, which already offers nursing (undergraduate and postgraduate studies), midwifery (undergraduate studies), dietetics (undergraduate studies), and biotechnology (undergraduate and postgraduate studies) in Polish and English. It is also a response to the social needs arising from the increasing percentage of elderly people in Polish and European society, the spread of civilisation diseases, the deteriorating health of children and young people due to lifestyle or the risk of further pandemics. All these factors make it necessary to educate more doctors, but also to conduct research in the fields of medicine, biomedicine and biotechnology, which should both respond to existing threats and anticipate future ones, all with a view to increasing the level of security of citizens. According to estimates by the Chief Chamber of Physicians, there is still a shortage of tens of thousands of doctors in Poland.

The Faculty will be located in the Konstantynów Campus, which the necessary research and teaching infrastructure. The teaching staff will consist not only of lecturers from the Catholic University of Lublin, but also of doctors from the Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration in Warsaw and hospitals in Lublin and Puławy. The University has also established cooperation with leading medical centres in the world, including the Medical College of Wisconsin, USA, the Gemelli Polyclinic and La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon, and the Lebanese School of Medicine and Medical Sciences, the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, and the Medical University of Lublin. Work has started on creating a clinical hospital.

In October 2023, 60 future doctors will start their education at the Catholic University of Lublin. The first-year curriculum will include classes in anatomy, cytophysiology, chemistry and biochemistry, biophysics, physiology, information technology, and the rudiments of telemedicine. In order to become a medical student at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, high school graduates will have to pass an upper secondary school leaving exam in biology and one subject of their choice: mathematics, chemistry or physics.