A Brief History of Poland by The World Factbook 2006
Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland amongst themselves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. Read More
King Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great) of Poland founded our prestigious University in 1364. Since then Kraków has become the center of European education, science and culture. Kraków is not only one of the oldest cities in Europe; with a population of almost one million, it is also a large and modern university city that offers many educational and scientific opportunities.
Jagiellonian University Medical College, Faculty of Medicine offers programs of medical studies that are taught exclusively in English. Graduates of these programs receive a Doctor of Medicine degree.
The School of Medicine in English at the Faculty of Medicine of Jagiellonian University was established by a decision of the Senate of the Jagiellonian University on November 24, 1993. It began to function admitting its first students in October 1994.
Since then, thirty-two students have been admitted annually to the 4-year program, while another thirty-two students have been admitted to the 6-year program with English as the teaching language. The programs offer unique undergraduate medical training to foreign students from professors and teaching staff with long-term training in the US and Canada. Based on tradition and history, the School of Medicine has always adheres to its motto of "Healing and Teaching".
Preparation of the academic curriculum, staff selection and teaching ideals and styles are all based on previously gained experience teaching American students through an affiliation with Stony Brook State University in New York. The regulations define the School as a unit of the Faculty of Medicine under the jurisdiction of the Dean. Graduates receive a diploma certifying graduation from the Faculty of Medicine at Jagiellonian University.
The School has its own executive body - the School Council. The Head of the Council is responsible for the School programs. The Council consists of Vice-Rector of the Jagiellonian University, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Vice-Dean for Foreign Student Affairs and nine academic professors elected by the Faculty Council. The School Council prepares the curricula and syllabi, and supervises the educational affairs.
Within its competence is the establishment international contacts, the definition of the School's financial rules, the distribution of the School's resources, the selection of teaching staff, the preparation of reports, the awarding of prizes and the conferment of honors.
When in 1364 King Casimir the Great established a university in Kraków, it had three faculties (without Theology) with Medicine represented by two professors: lector ordinarius in medicinis who was a full professor of medicine, and probably a professor of astronomy, who delivered lectures on astrology, long inseparable from medicine. All the lectures were given on the Wawel.
Following rich endowments from Queen Jadwiga and her husband King Ladislaus Jagiełło (after whom the University was later named the Jagiellonian University) in 1400 the University was re-established with four faculties. Its first Rector, Stanisław of Skalbmierz, said in his inaugural speech, that the Faculty of Medicine occupied a prominent place. Soon the Faculty attracted a number of Polish and foreign scholars. One of the first professors was Johannes Kro of Chociebuż (he was also the first physician to be elected Rector in 1419), Joannes Saccis de Papia (Pavia) who put into effect the first statutes of the Faculty of Medicine (1433), Marcin Król of Żurawica and Piotr Gaszowiec of Loćmierz, who apart from medicine were also interested in astronomy and astrology. Every physician, whether Polish or foreigner, who stayed in Kraków had to teach Medicine as lector in medicinis. In this way in the 15th century the Faculty was proud of having about 50 lecturers.
Travel abroad, especially to Padua soon became popular. These extensive contacts accelerated the development of Renaissance in Kraków. One of the greatest 16th century figures was undoubtedly Mathias of Miechów (1457-1523), a historian and physician, Rector of the University for many terms, called Polish Hippocrates. Other prominent scholars were Wojciech Oczko (1537-1599), an author of extensive treatises on balneology and syphilidology; Sebastian Petrycy of Plzen (1554-1626), a successful practitioner and philanthropist, known for his translations of Aristotle; and Józef Struś (1510-1568) who later lectured in Padua, a critic of Galen and author of his own treatise on arterial pulse, Sphygmicae artis libri quinque, 1555.
In the 17th and 18th centuries the University was on the decline, a process accelerated both by external factors (he Swedish war, 1651-1656) and internal factors (obsolescence and fossilization in curricula and teaching methods). The number of students decreased and those who enrolled, especially in Medicine, received only an incomplete education and continued their studies abroad, mainly in Italy, where they would be awarded doctoral degrees.
The condition of the University improved when in 1773 the Commission for National Education entrusted Hugo Kołłątaj with the task of reforming the University (1778-1780). The reform, strongly supported by the intellects of the age started a new period in the history of the University. Professor Andrzej Badurski (1740-1789) spared no effort to establish a university hospital, which was created in 1780. Rafał Józef Czerwiakowski began to perform regular post-mortem examinations. The incorporation of Kraków into Austria (the Austrian Partition) in 1796 meant an attempt to transform the University into an Austrian school and was associated with an influx of foreign professors. When in 1809 Kraków became part of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, the University regained its Polish character. It flourished when the city acquired political autonomy (1815-1846), and attained fame with such Polish names as Józef Brodowicz (1790-1885) in internal medicine, Ludwik Bierkowski (1801-1860) in surgery, Józef Majer (1808-1899) and Fryderyk Skobel (1806-1878) in basic sciences. This period was a starting-point for further development of medicine in the second half of the 19th century represented in internal medicine by Józef Dietl (1804-1878), Edward Korczyński (1844-1905), Walery Jaworski (1849-1924), and in surgery by Jan Mikulicz Radecki (1850-1905), Ludwik Rydygier (1850-1920) and Alfred Obaliński (1843-1898).
When Poland became an independent state after the First World War new universities were established and the old ones recovered their Polish character. Kraków with its famous University had a sufficient intellectual potential to share with the new centres. This constant growth, albeit not without difficulties, especially economic, and scientific development of the Faculty of Medicine was abruptly interrupted by the Second World War and Nazi occupation, which began with the arresting of University Faculty on 6 November 1939.
At the end of the Second World War in 1945 the University resumed its activities despite a shortage of teaching staff. But soon the sincere effort, enthusiasm and good will of all people were suppressed by political interference. In 1950 all the medical faculties in Poland were separated from universities and transformed into new institutions - medical academies.
The separation of the Faculty of Medicine from the Jagiellonian University for political reasons had a negative influence on the selection of teaching staff and students as well as scientific activities. However, there was also a brighter side. New clinics were established, like the Third Clinic of Internal Medicine and the Third Clinic of Surgery. The Faculty of Medicine was expanded to include a Division of Stomatology. Pharmacy, being part of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the Jagiellonian University, was transformed into the Faculty of Pharmacy at the new Academy of Medicine. The newly established units occupied old premises or former hospital facilities, as virtually no new buildings were constructed.
It was not until 1965 that a new Institute of Children's Diseases, a gift of the American Nation, opened at Prokocim. Far from the old city, it was built in a place planned as a future student and medical centre. Soon a few students halls and recently a new building for the Institute of Pharmacy were constructed, and it is not the end of Medicines construction works.
The Academy of Medicine, as the former Faculty of Medicine of the Jagiellonian University provided education to large numbers of students, who after graduation, especially after the war filled the vacancies in health service and gradually improved the health status in the country. All chairs and departments made a progress in teaching and research, not infrequently on an international scale.
Despite of the Academy of Medicine achievements as an autonomic institution, the intention to reunite with the Jagiellonian University was very strong. Political changes in Poland and Eastern Europe aroused hopes which came true on 12 May 1993. The Faculty of Medicine returned to the Alma Mater Jagellonica, with which it has been tracing a mutual history since its beginnings. (Prof. Zdzisław Gajda, M.D.)