Dean's Letter of Welcome
The origins of the University of Barcelona’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences date to 1760, when Pere Virgili founded the School of Surgery. However, it was not until 1843 that the embryo of what would develop into the present-day Faculty was established on Carrer del Carme. In 1906, the Faculty (at that point, the Faculty of Medicine, which included courses in dentistry and nursing) was relocated to a historic building on Carrer de Casanova, where, together with Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, it would form the Medicine Campus. In 1980, the Faculty was expanded by opening premises in Hospitalet de Llobregat, next to Bellvitge Hospital. Shortly afterwards, the Bellvitge Health Sciences Campus was constructed, incorporating the Faculty of Dentistry and the University School of Nursing. In 1993, with the opening of the teaching unit of Sant Joan de Déu Paediatric Hospital in Esplugues de Llobregat, the Faculty added a teaching campus of the same name. Finally, in 2016, the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences assumed its current structure when the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Dentistry and the University School of Nursing were brought together in a single centre. This exciting project will facilitate greater permeability between health-related courses, joining-up of projects, and ultimately an overall improvement in teaching and research.
Six bachelor’s degree courses are taught at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences: Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Nursing, Medicine and Podiatry. The bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences is registered and taught jointly with the UB’s Faculty of Biology, with the aim of preparing students for careers in biomedical research. The bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, taught in conjunction with the UB's Faculty of Physics, ensures that students develop the professional skills they need in an ideal setting, enabling them to apply all their creativity to tackle engineering challenges in the health field. The bachelor’s degree in Nursing aims to produce proficient, committed providers of nursing care who are well equipped to meet social needs. Clinical teaching at a number of hospitals, primary care centres and social health facilities contributes to the achievement of this mission. Moving on to the bachelor’s degree in Medicine, the curricula that have been developed and the involvement of leading health institutions (three university hospitals, eight partner hospitals and 8 primary care centres), many of which are shared with the Nursing programme, ensure that students acquire the target competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes) specified in course plans. The bachelor’s degree in Dentistry ensures that students gain the knowledge and skills needed to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases that affect the organs of the mouth and solve dental health problems. Hands-on clinical training is provided at a dental hospital staffed by highly specialized professionals. Finally, the bachelor’s degree in Podiatry is designed to give students the best possible training in podiatric care. Learning takes place in a podiatric hospital setting, where close supervision by instructors guarantees an optimal learning experience. For the academic year 2018-2019, the Faculty will introduce a new bachelor's degree in Medical Imaging and Radiotherapy.
At the postgraduate level, the Faculty currently offers 13 university master’s degrees: Advanced Medical Skills (with 35 specializations); Clinical Research (with eight specializations); Translational Medicine; Biomedicine (in conjunction with the Faculties of Biology and Pharmacy); Introduction to Mental Health Research (an inter-university degree); Erasmus Mundus in Biohealth Computing; Principles of Care and Education for Diabetes Sufferers; Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Nutrition, Chronic Diseases and Healthy Ageing; Traditional Chinese Medicine; Podiatric Surgery; Advanced Clinical Practice Nursing; Leadership and Management of Nursing Services; and Applied Research Methodology in Nursing Care; All these master’s degrees qualify graduates to go on to undertake research leading to a doctoral degree. For some years, the Faculty has also offered many UB-specific master’s degrees and other high-level postgraduate courses. Doctoral programmes in Medicine and Translational Research, Biomedicine and Nursing are a natural next step for graduates interested in pursuing advanced academic study. Each year around 200 doctoral theses of the highest quality are defended at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Finally, the Faculty also offers courses for students over the age of 60 within the framework of the University of Experience (at the Bellvitge Health Sciences Campus).
The UB’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences operates through three campuses (the Medicine Campus, the Bellvitge Health Sciences Campus, and the Sant Joan de Déu Campus) and tertiary-care university hospitals. It also works with ten other hospitals that offer high-quality care, teaching and research, 22 primary care centres, and a mental health centre (Sant Boi de Llobregat). These facilities have the infrastructure required for teaching and research (libraries, dissection rooms, laboratories for practicals and research, computer rooms, study rooms, communication skills laboratories, clinical skills laboratories, and spaces for critical care simulations). The Faculty also has agreements with companies for courses that are highly technological or research-oriented. All these organizational elements serve to optimize the relationship between students and patients and ensure highly effective practice-based learning. They also facilitate the involvement of a greater number of people in teaching, research and care-related tasks, which enhances the quality of the educational process.
The basic structural units of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences area its seven departments (four on the Medicine Campus and three on the Bellvitge Campus), which are responsible for teaching in the relevant subject areas. To ensure that teaching is of the highest quality and reflects state-of-the-art knowledge, members of these departments engage in two activities: first, actions aimed at improving teaching and constantly innovating in relation to content, and second, the organization of research groups, both internally and within the framework of institutions set up for this purpose, in particular the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS), the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute, and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). The combination of research conducted within the framework of “basic” departments and that pursued in clinics, collaboration between the professionals working in these departments, and contributions made by attached researchers have facilitated the pursuit of an objective of the utmost importance: translational research – that is, investigations which generate results that can directly benefit patients – an activity carried out across all courses.
All these factors supporting the quality of teaching and research in the UB’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences have made it the school with the highest cut-off marks in Catalonia for most of the programmes offered. The Faculty is also the leader in Spain in international rankings regularly published by recognized bodies, and one of the leading health sciences schools in Spain when it comes to the number of students in the top hundred accepted for medical internships and residencies. While we naturally take pride in this, we also recognize the need to continue working to maintain such a level of excellence, especially given the recent appearance of several new faculties of medicine in Spain.
The teaching staff and the administrative and service staff focus on working together to offer both undergraduate and postgraduate students the best possible service. The comprehensive collection of institutional and human resources described above makes the UB Faculty of Medicine a modern and, in many respects, cutting edge school, where keen students will find their expectations are met. The Faculty also offers academics an ideal environment in which to organize and pursue their teaching, research and dissemination activities, with infrastructure that includes classrooms, audio-visual media, dissection rooms, and skills and simulation laboratories.
For all these reasons, as dean of a faculty that is proud to take the lead on many health-related matters, it is my great pleasure to welcome you. All members of our academic staff are committed to performing their teaching and research duties to the best of their ability. Together, in our various roles as members of the Faculty’s academic, administrative and service staff and the UB, a public institution, we have important responsibilities and duties to society in the field of health. To fulfil them — and looking beyond the educational setting — the Faculty must work closely with health institutions to ensure that our programmes produce the kind of graduates society needs. This is the real challenge facing any health sciences faculty that belongs to a public institution and is driven by a spirit of service.
Now, more than ever, we reaffirm our commitment to work together and strive for excellence in every area that our work encompasses.
Best wishes for the forthcoming year.