A BRIEF HISTORY

Medical and pharmaceutical higher education in Bucharest dates back more than a century. Carol Davila, a Romanian physician of French origin, in collaboration with Nicolae Kretzulescu set up medical education in our country by founding the National School of Medicine and Pharmacy in 1857. Through his activity a series of scientific societies were founded in our country: “The Medical Society” (1857), “The Red Cross Society” (1876), “The Natural Sciences Society” (1876), as well as two medical journals, “The Medical Register” (1862) and “The Medical Gazette” (1865). During the Independence War (1877-1878), Carol Davila was the head of the medical service of the army.

The building of the Faculty of Medicine was completed and inaugurated on 12 October 1903, when the statue of Carol Davila, placed in front of the faculty, was also inaugurated. The decision to erect a monument in honour of Davila was taken at the first national medical congress which was held in Bucharest in October 1884. The statue, a valuable work by Carol Stork, was cast in bronze in the workshops of the School of Arts and Crafts of Bucharest.

The inauguration of the building of the faculty marks an important date in the development of medical education in Bucharest. The new building greatly improved the functioning of the laboratories and the organization of the practicals, as well as the overall teaching activity. This building also housed part of the pharmacy department for a while.

Despite all the difficulties encountered, the National School of Medicine and Pharmacy gradually developed and thus, on 12 November 1869, the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine of Bucharest became possible. The faculty inaugurated its courses on 22 November 1869. It was the first faculty of medicine within the University of Bucharest and, at the same time, the first one in our country; through this faculty, medical science managed to gain a place, both in our country and abroad.

Among the outstanding professors who contributed to the development of education in the Faculty of Medicine of Bucharest we can count, besides Carol Davila, Iacob Felix (1832-1905), the founder of the school of hygiene, who was also concerned with general medicine, Alexandru Marcovici (1835-1886), the initiator of themedical clinic, Nicolae Turnescu (1819-1890) and Constantin Dumitrescu-Severeanu (1840-1930), the founders of the surgical clinic, Zaharia Petrescu (1841-1901), the founder of medical therapeutics and Alexandru Suţu (1837-1919), who laid the foundations of forensic medicine and psychiatry.

An important event in the orientation of Romanian therapeutics and pharmacy was the publication of the first Romanian Pharmacopoeia at the beginning of 1863. A particularly significant contribution to the achievement of this national work was made, besides  its initiator, Carol Davila, by the learned pharmacist Constantin C. Hepiteş (1804-1890), a former professor of the School of Medicine.

In 1873 the first doctoral dissertations were publicly defended at the Faculty of Medicine of Bucharest. Simultaneously with the doctoral dissertations, 19 degrees of Bachelor of Science were presented until 1888. Starting with the academic year 1885, no students without a baccalaureate diploma were admitted to the faculty, and after 1888 the graduates had to defend a doctoral dissertation, thus obtaining the title of Ph.D in Medicine and Surgery.

Another significant event in the history of the faculty was the setting up on 1 January 1875 of the Society of the Students in Medicine of Bucharest, on the initiative of the future professor Nicolae Manolescu (1850-1910), whose initial goal was the improvement of the study conditions.

The year 1887 marked a new stage in the development of the Faculty of Medicine of Bucharest as well as a memorable date in the history of Romanian science. That year, three outstanding scientists and professors became the heads of the main chairs of the faculty: Victor Babeş (1854-1926), one of the greatest bacteriologists and anatomical pathologists of his age, George Asachi (1855-1899), the founder of the school of experimental surgery and Nicolae Kalinderu (1832-1902), a leading clinician and the initiator of the anatomical and clinical direction in Romanian medicine.

After 1890, other scholars joined the academic staff of the Faculty of Medicine in Bucharest: in 1895 Thoma Ionescu (1860-1926), the founder of Romanian modern surgery and a pioneer in the field of spinal anesthesia, was appointed professor of topographic anatomy and surgical clinic; in 1899 Gheorghe Marinescu (1863-1938), the founder of the Romanian neurological school, in 1901 Ion Cantacuzino (1863-1934), a bacteriologist, biologist, immunologist and epidemiologist, the creator of the Romanian school of experimental medicine. After the First World War, the chairs of the Faculty of Medicine were represented by other leading personalities who consolidated the prestige of the faculty.  Out of these, mention should be made of: professor Ion Nanu Muscel (1862-1938), a clinician and the creator of a school; Anibal Theohari (1873-1933), the creator of experimental therapeutics and balneology; professor Ernest Juvara (1870-1933), an innovator in surgical and instrumental technique; professor Alexandru Obregia (1860-1937), a distinguished psychiatrist; professor Mina Minovici (1858-1933), the creator and scientific organizer of forensic medicine in Romania; Francisc Rainer (1874-1944), a learned anatomist and anthropologist, Constantin I. Parhon, a promoter of endocrinology and biochemistry; Dimitrie Bagdasar (1893-1946), the founder of the school of neurosurgery and Constantin Ionescu-Mihăieşti (1883-1946), a representative of the Romanian school of microbiology, an organizer of the practice of serum production and one of the founders of the “Dr. I. Cantacuzino” Institute.

In 1898, the School of Pharmacy became a department of the Faculty of Medicine and its higher education status was officially recognized. It carried on its activity by the Faculty of Medicine until 1923, when the Faculty of Pharmacy was established as a separate institution within the University of Bucharest. An important role in the creation of the Faculty of Pharmacy and the stimulation of pharmaceutical scientific research was played by professor Ştefan Minovici (1867-1935).




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