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“A good place to be”

New students of medicine and psychology

Neuruppin, 8 April 2019

Last Friday, 5 April 2019, the cultural centre Kulturkirche in Neuruppin hosted the matriculation ceremony for 48 new students of medicine and eight Master students of psychology who began their studies at the MHB this summer term.

In his welcome speech MHB president Prof. Dr. Edmund Neugebauer pointed out that the MHB is the only medical school in the entire state of Brandenburg to date, and that the psychology curriculum has unique elements nation-wide. Student evaluation of teaching activities and courses yields positive results on a regular basis, so Neugebauer, and MHB students always do well in the so called Progress Test Medicine which they sit at the start of each semester. The MHB has moved to a recently refurbished building on the Neuruppin campus during the lecture-free period, with office space for the administration and well-equipped classrooms. Neugebauer wished staff and students alike a successful start in the new facilities. 

Prof. Dr. Markus Deckert (internal medicine, haematology and oncology/Brandenburg Municipal Hospital) as the newly elected MHB Dean welcomed the new students at “a very special medical school, a good place to be”. District Administrator Ralf Reinhardt who chairs the MHB supervisory board underlined the specific and different character of Brandenburg, the region, and also the MHB: “This university is small and offers a personal touch, community spirit and strong cohesion.”

Reinhardt described the shortage of physicians as a serious challenge, in Brandenburg in particular with not only the smallest number of physicians but also the oldest compared to the average age of physicians in the rest of Germany. He stressed MHB’s intention to do something about the situation and expressed hopes that the newcomers will soon feel at home in Brandenburg.

 

Student speakers at the ceremony were Anne Mohnke (Master, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy) and 4th-semester medical student Cindy Stern.

As one of the first class of psychology students to complete the Bachelor programme and thus one of the first MHB graduates, Anne Mohnke was happy to tune her new fellow students in on exciting topics and inspiring discussions: “The MHB has set itself the task of integrating theory and practice, designing innovative concepts of learning in small groups and addressing diverging therapeutic approaches as equivalent. The idea is not to reinforce existing prejudices or engage in contests to determine which therapist has the better orientation. Here you are invited to form an independent opinion, and this is what I really appreciate about MHB.”

Mohnke pointed to a number of unusual aspects involved in MHB studies. A still young university, with no tradition to speak of, needs to come up with creative solutions to structural problems. But with some staying power and persistence, students have ample opportunity to play an active part in university life and shape procedures according to their own ideas: “It will be an asset for your academic career if you can document personal involvement in university development. One of the gifts for the first class of MHB medical graduates was a small cactus plant, as a symbol of hardiness under difficult conditions. How important students’ contributions can be in the process of getting a university under way has been a formative experience for me personally. It implies some additional work, but your student life will definitely be exciting and varied.” Mohnke concluded with best wishes for the new start, much success and last but not least, lots of fun.

A great shared experience

Cindy Stern added a medical student’s perspective on the specific aspects of studies at the MHB and the creative margins offered. She described the excitement, expectations and impatience she felt during her early days as a medical student, and she spoke of the courage required to opt for a newly founded medical school without tradition. She underlined the manifold opportunities to unfold individual potentials and put visions into practice in an environment without established hierarchies and entrenched structures. She praised the unique atmosphere in the MHB community where people stick up for each other, stand together in good and bad times, and nobody is left behind. She offered a warm welcome to the newcomers on behalf of the MHB medical students.

Chaos and order

Keynote speaker Prof. Dr. Martin Butzlaff, president and alumnus of Witten/Herdecke University (founded in the Ruhr area as a private institution in 1982) quoted Albert Einstein as saying that without order nothing can exist, and without chaos nothing can evolve. Outlining stages on the difficult way towards modern and future-oriented medical education, he elucidated a number of pertinent key concepts, such as university, student education, digitisation, time, specialisation and future, passion, research, education, and pleasure. 

Scholarships awarded

As a further highlight of the ceremony, 14 new scholarships were awarded to students of medicine and psychology. Funded from the Deutschlandstipendium programme, recipients get € 300 per month. Nadine Shalala is in charge of fundraising at the MHB and explains how the system works: “Each sum from private donors is matched with federal funds to the same amount. Businesses, foundations, associations or private individuals can make valuable contributions to the training of doctors and psychologies, starting with 150 € per month.

The programme targets students with outstanding motivation who promise excellent performance during and after their studies, whereby performance refers to good marks and academic achievement as well as a will to assume social responsibility or to overcome obstacles and difficulties in one’s personal development and career. In general the duration is at least twelve months. The MHB had awarded eight such scholarships for the winter term. The total number of available scholarships – 22 for the summer term – depends on enrolment as well as on privately raised funds. 

The newly founded MHB orchestra “Capella fontastica” concluded the ceremony, conducted by Prof. Dr. Thomas Stamm (clinical psychiatry and psychotherapy) who is now MHB Vice Dean for Curricular and Student Affairs.  

TV meteorologist Donald Bäcker, born in Neuruppin by the way, acted as presenter of the event. The audience of approximately 250 included students with family and friends, MHB staff, representatives from affiliated university clinics, cooperation partners from the fields of medicine, science and research as well as guests from the worlds of politics and society, citizenry and ministries.

Newly founded: Capella fontastica conducted by Prof. Thomas Stamm

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