1st Alpe-Adria conference of Medical Universities and Faculties

On June 7th, 2023, Faculty of Medicine (MF) University of Ljubljana (UL) organized 1st Alpe-Adria conference of Medical Universities and Faculties with the goal to initiate annual meetings of higher educational institutions in the field of medicine in region from Alps to the Adriatic sea. Event took place in the monumental former State Mansion of Carniola, the official seat of the Rector of University of Ljubljana. The objectives of the conference were to discuss and share good practices, challenges and advancements in the field of new technologies’ impact to medical education and research, and on mastering the art of combining research, teaching and medical practice. 

Conference was opened by the Rector of University of Ljubljana, Prof. Dr. Gregor Majdič, Dean of Faculty of Medicine UL Prof. Dr. Igor Švab and representative of Slovenian Research and Innovation Agency Dr. Levin Pal.

Prof. Dr. Tomaž Marš, Vice-Dean of Faculty of Medicine UL, summarized how the historical background, geographical proximity and current evolution in medical education and research, present an excellent starting point to facilitate and advance collaboration between medical educational and research institutions in this area.  Assoc. Prof. Sergej Pirkmajer, UL MF A4L coordinator at Faculty of Medicine UL, presented Alliance4Life consortium and how it empowers environment for research and innovations not only in partner institutions but also at the level of European and national science policies.  

In the first round table discussion participants from Italy (Director Prof. Dr. Nicolo' De Manzini from Department of Medicine, Surgery and Health Sciences, University of Trieste), Croatia (Prof. Dr. Srečko Gajović, Prof. Dr. Nada Čikeš, and Prof. Dr. Miloš Judaš from School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Dean Prof. Dr. Goran Hauser and Vice-Dean Prof. Dr. Marina Šantić from Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka) and Slovenia (Prof. Dr. Aleš Blinc and Prof. Dr. Miha Arnol from University Medical Centre Ljubljana, A9ssist. Prof. Dr. Peter Radšel from Medical Chamber of Slovenia, Vice-Dean Prof. Dr. Radovan Hojs and Vice-Dean Prof. Dr. Dušica Pahor from Faculty of Medicine, University of Maribor, and Vice-Dean Prof. Dr. Janja Jan and Prof. Dr. Mitja Košnik from Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana) shared their views and responses to impact artificial intelligence and other novel technologies have on medical education and research. Knowledge about artificial intelligence, new technologies and virtual medicine should be implemented in curricula, however it should also be accompanied with implementation of novel approaches of assessing student’s level of knowledge and skills they exhibit prior, during and after their study.   

In the second part of the event Prof. Dr. Nada Čikeš from School of Medicine, University of Zagreb presented the outcomes of D3.2 White Paper on Combining Research, Teaching and Medical Practice. Alliance4Life partners contributing to White paper pointed out ten topics relevant for integration of science and academia and health care, four of which were particularly highlighted during the round table discussion: 1) What is the role of hospital authorities in planning and supporting medical education and research; 2) What is the relation between medical school and university hospital in academic workforce planning and career development; 3) How to ensure protected time for teaching end research in healthcare working time; and 4) Is there a need for collaboration between research offices in medical school and hospital. As an introduction to the round table discussion Prof. Dr. Aleš Blinc from University Medical Centre Ljubljana shared overview of this complex field and served as an excellent starting point for discussion. He emphasized that in order to ensure continuous development of medicine, more effort should be placed to emphasize the importance of medical research and to protect time for research for physician-scientists. In addition, there must be a clear devotion of academic hospitals to teach and to perform medical research.

The date of the 2nd Alpe-Adria conference of Medical Universities and Faculties will be announced by Autumn 2023.