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Pompeu Fabra University and Hospital del Mar are to offer a new bachelor’s degree in Medicine tailored to current and future needs

Pompeu Fabra University and Hospital del Mar are to offer a new bachelor’s degree in Medicine tailored to current and future needs

The bachelor’s degree will have a new syllabus, fully adapted to the needs of medicine today and in the future that will involve a change in the methods and approach of teaching, with a clear clinical leaning due to its integration with Hospital del Mar.

08.04.2021

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Pompeu Fabra University’s new bachelor’s degree in Medicine will become a reality next year. On 26 March, the Interuniversity Council of Catalonia gave the green light for it to start in the 2021-2022 academic year. This bachelor’s degree will progressively phase out the joint degree with the Autonomous University of Barcelona, supplied since 2008-2009. The teaching and research collaboration agreement for the creation of the bachelor’s degree was signed on 23 September last between the Department of Health, UPF and the Barcelona Mar Health Park Consortium.

The degree will offer up to 60 first-year places and will have a new syllabus, fully adapted to the needs of medicine today and in the future that will involve a change in the methods and approach of teaching, with a clear clinical leaning due to its integration with Hospital del Mar. It will train clinical professionals with solid knowledge and skills, and with a clear orientation towards medicine based on biomedical research to explain the mechanisms and processes of diseases and therapies. This is now especially important, as medicine is undergoing highly relevant changes, with new diagnostic techniques and innovative therapies.

Thus, the new bachelor’s degree in Medicine supplied by UPF in collaboration with Hospital de Mar, will be clearly integrated with the fields of biomedicine, transfer, clinics and public health, with work in conjunction with research groups in these fields. In addition, clinical subjects will be adapted by introducing innovative teaching methodologies and aspects of current medicine such as cancer, infectious diseases, care for the critically ill, personalized and precision medicine, systems medicine and telemedicine will be a focal point.

One of the distinguishing features of the new bachelor’s degree in Medicine is its location in a privileged bio-health environment, formed by the Mar Campus, Hospital del Mar and the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park.

At the same time, far more importance will be given to learning non-cognitive skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, the capacity for analysis and expression, conflict resolution, cooperative work, autonomy, and the role of humanism in medical practice. In addition, emphasis will be given to student-focused pedagogy and active learning, and the extensive use of clinical simulation technologies will be encouraged.

“We will train the physicians of the future, with a solid background on the causes and mechanisms of health and disease, leadership in clinics and research, with extensive knowledge of the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, all hand in hand with a strong humanistic element”, explains Dr. Joaquim Gea, dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at UPF and head of the Pneumology Service at Hospital de Mar.

“This is an innovative bachelor’s degree, which is committed to the use of new technologies to train the medical professionals society requires, an all-round professional from a humanistic point of view, in contact with their environment and with social awareness and, at the same time, with high standards of excellence. It is the last part of the circle that forms the Mar Hospital Campus, composed of centres like the Bonanova Institute health vocational training centre, Mar Nursing School, and specialized training and continuing education”, asserts Dr. Joan Ramon Masclans, director of Teaching at Hospital del Mar.

“The new bachelor’s degree is an excellent opportunity to combine teaching, healthcare and research profiles within the field of the Health Sciences. We enjoy a unique institutional setting and the bachelor’s degree in Medicine has to be the benchmark for our country’s physicians of the future”, says Dr. David Comas, director of the UPF Department of Experimental and Health Sciences.

Aspects of current medicine such as cancer, infectious diseases, care for the critically ill, personalized and precision medicine, systems medicine and telemedicine will be a focal point.

Dr. Josep M Antó, full professor of Medicine at UPF, who with Dr. Masclans has shared the chair of the working group that has designed the new syllabus, comments that “the covid-19 pandemic is a tragic reminder that we are living in an era characterized by the climate emergency and the challenges of the Anthropocene, hence we have designed a syllabus committed to the sustainable development goals and capable of training physicians that can deal with the sociocultural and technological challenges of the coming decades”.

In the words of Dr. Jaume Bertranpetit, who has acted as rector’s delegate for medical studies: “the major challenge will be to have physicians who can take up the challenges of the future, with strong scientific knowledge who know in depth how life works and what disease means and at the same time can empathize with the patient. We are facing a nationwide challenge; it goes beyond the university and the hospital”.

The manager of Mar Health Park, Dr. Olga Pané, emphasizes that “the new bachelor’s degree allows us to join forces, grow and take a leap forward to reinforce synergies with our university environment. The partnership with UPF positions us in the teaching environment with a very competitive proposal that brings under the umbrella of the Hospital del Mar Campus fundamental studies in the fields of Health; medicine, nursing and health-related vocational training”.

One of the distinguishing features of the new bachelor’s degree in Medicine is its location in a privileged bio-health environment in the heart of Barcelona that allows enhancing synergies between the different institutions. The proximity of the Faculty to Hospital del Mar is notable, allowing a first-hand perspective of clinical care. In the field of teaching, the bachelor’s degree in Medicine will be in very close contact with the rest of the bachelor’s degrees in health and life sciences taught at the Mar University Campus. In reference to biomedical research, the UPF Department of Experimental and Health Sciences and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) are two centres located in the powerful scientific ecosystem of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB). The Park hosts other centres that are also linked to UPF, such as the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-UPF), the Centre for Genomic Regulation, the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL Barcelona).

In this vein, Jaume Casals, UPF rector, sees this happening “as if a drop of some very dense liquid (a new project to train physicians) fell right in the heart of the metropolis. Because Barcelona is one of the first European cities as regards its size and its activity. But it’s a city that needs sort itself out and define itself from within. Just as universities, like UPF, need to be defined from without. From a hospital, for example, or from a set of research centres such as the old Fish market, or from the other sister universities of the world and, of course, from its belonging in Barcelona”. He adds that “this drop could help sort out the whole and distribute the best roles to each ingredient, to each entity in the city centre. And make of the Catalan metropolis an exemplary space for knowledge and social and economic progress for a Europe that needs good examples, to improve its policy and use its resources correctly. Also a space of engagement with the health and wellbeing of the planet”.

To reach fruition, this project has required good understanding between all of the parties involved - University and Hospital - and also the unconditional involvement of the technical teams of the two institutions, and most especially of the interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary teams of academics, syllabus working groups, external experts, programming team and secretariat.

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