Medical education in Russia usually lasts 6 years for an undergraduate MD or MBBS. The curriculum for the first two years is the same in all faculties. It includes the preclinical and fundamental medical sciences which are the essential foundation for any medical specialty. The medical specialization begins in the third year of the course; the curriculum includes propaedeutics, biochemistry and pathology (pathological anatomy and pathological physiology) clinical and special subjects, depending on the orientation.

The main feature of medical education in Russia for both Faculties of Curative Medicine and Pediatrics is the introduction of a new approach to training internists and pediatricians which implies a two-year continuous primary specialization, one year in institute and the other year after graduation. The nature of medical education in Russia and its curriculum in these Faculties is designed to cover all general medical education within five years.

During the third, fourth and fifth years, students perform clinical activities as nurses, feldsher and clinical assistants. In the sixth year, medical students obtain primary specialization in one of the following clinical disciplines: Faculty of Curative Medicine (surgery, obstetrics and gynecology) Faculty of Pediatrics (pediatrics, including childhood infectious diseases, and pediatric surgery, including orthopedics) . Subspecialization in clinical areas is not foreseen during the degree course, as it is believed that in-depth knowledge of the main clinical subjects is fundamental for an adequate training of doctors.

After 6 years of medical education in Russia, students pass a state exam according to the curriculum, receive a doctor’s diploma and complete a one-year internship in medical units under the supervision of specialists. Education in ophthalmology, otolaryngology, dietetics, climatotherapy, endocrinology, clinical biochemistry, physiotherapy, and aspects of surgery such as oncology and neurosurgery is provided by the appropriate departments.

The teaching methodology in Russian medical schools includes lectures by leading specialists and regular practical classes throughout the course of studies.

Training programs in medical schools in Russia are adapted to the needs of the population in accordance with healthcare priorities. Thus, when non-communicable diseases became a real health problem in the 1950s; these subjects have been strengthened and introduced more widely into the curricula. As the role of primary health care became more evident in the 1970s, medical education in Russia adjusted to this objective issue.

In Russian medical schools after the annual exams at the end of the fourth and fifth years, senior students of all faculties usually spend breaks between semesters in professional training. Students are taught to use their knowledge, develop their professional skills, master up-to-date diagnostic and therapeutic methods, and become familiar with all other jobs they will take in the future. It should be emphasized that at least 25% of the time within all specialties’ training program is devoted to practice at the primary health care level.

Finally, after the completion of medical education in Russia, students must pass state exams in general and special medical subjects (depending on the orientation of a particular Faculty) in order to receive a general practitioner diploma at the Faculty of Medicine Curative (VRAC), as a pediatrician at the Faculty of Pediatrics, as a health manager at the Faculty of Hygiene, as a stomatologist at the Faculty of Stomatology, or as a pharmacist at the pharmaceutical institute or faculty.

Approximately 60,000 students graduate from Russian medical schools each year. – Professor Felix Vartanian, MD Vice-Rector of the Russian Academy for Advanced Medical Studies, December 2008

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