UMCH recently underwent a re-evaluation by the Romanian state accreditation agency ARACIS, which is a member of ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) alongside institutions such as the German Accreditation Council and the German Rectors’ Conference. Following the visit, the Dean (Assoc. Prof. Simona Muresan, MD, PHD) and the Rector of the University (Prof. Leonard Azamfirei, MD, PHD) met with the coordinator of the ARACIS Visiting Committee (Prof. Laurentiu Mogoanta, MD, PhD) to jointly discuss the accreditation status of the UMFST branch UMCH in Hamburg.
Excerpt from the interview from May 20, 2021
Assoc. Prof. Simona Muresan, MD, PHD: I am honored to welcome you to this interview about UMFST’s study program at UMCH – our branch in Hamburg. Please begin by introducing yourself and briefly describing your current position.
Prof. Leonard Azamfirei, MD, PHD: My name is Leonard Azamfirei. I am a university professor of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine and since 9 years Rector of the University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science, and Technology “George Emil Palade” of Targu Mures, which opened UMCH – our branch in Hamburg – 2 years ago. In addition, I also serve as Vice President of the National Council of Rectors in Romania.
Prof. Laurentiu Mogoanta, MD, PhD: My name is Laurențiu Mogoanta. I am a professor at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova, Romania. Today I am here in my function as a evaluator and coordinator of the visiting committee of ARACIS, the Romanian state accreditation agency, which is currently re-evaluating the Hamburg campus.
Assoc. Prof. Simona Muresan, MD, PHD: Thank you very much. Today we had the pleasure of inspecting the Hamburg campus together. Prof. Mogoanta, as your host and Dean of the University, I would like to know from you what impression the UMCH campus made on you today.
Prof. Laurentiu Mogoanta, MD, PhD: In October 2018, as the ARACIS Commission Coordinator, I made my first evaluation visit to the UMCH campus, most of which was still under construction at that time. I am amazed by the extraordinary development of the campus. Within 2 years, this campus has developed in a way that rivals many traditional universities in Romania and beyond. It is definitely above the European average! I am impressed by what you have achieved in these two years – in terms of the teaching spaces, the equipment of the teaching spaces as well as in terms of the lecturers who teach in Hamburg.
Assoc. Prof. Simona Muresan, MD, PHD: Based on your visit to UMCH today, can you confirm that the Hamburg branch of the University in Targu Mures meets all the conditions required by both the Romanian Accreditation Society and the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, of which we are a partner?
Prof. Laurentiu Mogoanta, MD, PhD: As you know, an external evaluation report was prepared today by the ARACIS Commission. It was concluded that all the criteria were met. None of the criteria were not met or only partially met. Thus, you are certified of the quality of the training that takes place at the Hamburg campus. As a result, you can be sure that ARACIS and comparable European commissions will award the rating “Very Good”.
Prof. Leonard Azamfirei, MD, PHD: We – as a university – have taken numerous measures in the last two years to keep the standards at our Hamburg branch above the required average. To ensure that the medical education that takes place in Hamburg is comparable in terms of content, organization and teaching level to all other medical degree programs that are accredited at the European level, ARACIS works according to standards that are recognized not only nationally, but also at the European level. The agency is extremely demanding in its evaluation of individual study programs. We are honored by such a positive evaluation, but are equally committed to maintaining these standards in the future.
Assoc. Prof. Simona Muresan, MD, PHD: I would like to talk a little bit more about this very important issue in terms of graduation, both for our applicants and for current students. Are the university degrees awarded by medical universities from Romania recognized?
Prof. Laurentiu Mogoanta, MD, PhD: In Romania, European standards are met and the university degrees of accredited and authorized medical universities from Romania – including UMCH in Hamburg – are recognized throughout Europe and beyond.
Prof. Leonard Azamfirei, MD, PHD: As a member of the European Union, Romania is subject to all EU regulations – also with regard to the very demanding professional training in the medical field. Therefore, our international students – whether they study in Hamburg or in Targu Mures – can be completely sure that the degree they obtain at UMCH under the auspices and authority of the Romanian Ministry of Education is on par with all comparable degrees at European level.
Assoc. Prof. Simona Muresan, MD, PHD: Thank you for this clarification. Some of the current and future UMCH students are also interested in working in countries such as the USA at a later time. Prof. Azamfirei, what can you tell us about the presence of UMFST and its Hamburg branch UMCH in the World Directory of Medical Schools?
Prof. Leonard Azamfirei, MD, PHD: The fact that the UMFST is listed there constitutes another important aspect with regard to the university’s accreditation and teaching quality. This enables us to address not only students from European countries, but also those from non-European regions, including the United States, Canada and Asian countries. Certainly, these countries have different accreditation criteria in some cases, but at their core they each look – albeit from different perspectives – at what is happening at the universities where the respective programs are offered. Therefore, in Hamburg, as in Targu Mures, we not only have students from the EU, but also many from non-European countries.
Assoc. Prof. Simona Muresan, MD, PHD: Thank you very much. Prof. Mogoanta, you visited the campus again today after 2 years. You said you were impressed by the leap in quality we have made. What aspect impressed you most during your visit to Hamburg today?
Prof. Laurentiu Mogoanta, MD, PhD: I was very impressed by the laboratories and the technical equipment, which is really outstanding. I am pleased that the research part will be expanded even more in the future. I was equally impressed by your foresight with regard to the clinical-practical part of the study program. You have, after all, already signed contracts with a variety of hospitals throughout Germany and countries such as Spain that will allow students to gain practical experience. This will result in your students becoming excellent, high-performing doctors who will be able to work easily in Europe.
Assoc. Prof. Simona Muresan, MD, PHD: Thank you. Professor Azamfirei, what final words would you like to address to current UMCH students and potential applicants?
Prof. Leonard Azamfirei, MD, PHD: I recommend all applicants to visit the campus in Hamburg and get an idea of the study program offered here. You are all very welcome at the UMCH campus in Hamburg. To gain insight into what happens at UMCH, you can, for example, take part in one of the medical preparatory courses offered here. I am convinced that everyone who has been here once will be very happy to come back. At the same time, I can assure all young students, their parents as well as other relatives, that the UMFST of Targu Mures fully endorses its branch in Hamburg. I will be extremely proud when all the young people who are currently studying at UMCH and will do so in the future work as doctors in Germany and many other countries with a Romanian degree.
Assoc. Prof. Simona Muresan, MD, PHD: Thank you for your time, Prof. Azamfirei and Prof. Mogoanta. As Dean, I am very pleased with your words and look forward to seeing you again in a few years for another conversation in which we can evaluate further leaps in the development of our work on the Hamburg campus.