“Call for humility and free action”

Neuruppin, 12 April 2021

A virtual ceremony welcomes new students of psychology and medicine at the Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane (MHB). Prof. Dr. Ulrike Liedtke as president of the Brandenburg parliament congratulates the beginners on their choice. This year’s keynote speaker is Dean Prof. Dr. Markus Deckert. The Berlin Jazz Ensemble with Johannes Albes (sax player, songwriter and MHB professor of cardiac surgery) provided the musical accompaniment, and Carla Kniestedt acted once again as presenter.

Dr. Eric Hoffmann, MHB spokesman and co-organiser, pointed to the high figure of Covid-19 infections which made physical attendance at the ceremony in the Kulturkirche Neuruppin impossible: “The festive programme, again presented by Carla Kniestedt, nevertheless included all scheduled speeches and musical parts. A live stream broadcast permitted the new students and their families to follow the event.

After words of welcome from MHB president Prof. Edmund Neugebauer, the president of the Brandenburg parliament Prof. Dr. Ulrike Liedtke congratulated the beginners on their decision to study medicine and psychology at the MHB: “You have opted for a small but excellent medical school. Be assured that much will be expected of you, you will be personally known to your professors and also to the local baker. This town is proud of its students, everybody here knows how hard it was to establish this medical school, and people will do everything to ensure a continued positive development of the MHB. And you may rely on the backing of the Brandenburg parliament.”

Promise of further support from the Brandenburg government

Liedtke recalled considerable civic commitment in founding the MHB to overcome the deficit in training facilities for medical professionals in Brandenburg. She referred to plans to establish a state-financed medical school in the Lausitz region which had triggered anxieties as well as approval: “You in Neuruppin have a lead time, you can act as consultants for the Lausitz planning. The MHB with locations in Neuruppin, Brandenburg an der Havel and Rüdersdorf and its partner clinics including the Bernau cardiac centre has nothing to worry about. Your performance is convincing and in great demand, and you enjoy broad support, also that of the Brandenburg government.”

She quoted as evidence the recent recognition of partner clinics as university hospitals, which opened new chances in teaching, research and patient care. The MHB with its facilities and partner clinics, so Liedtke, is going to play a leading part in drawing up an overall concept of medical training in the State of Brandenburg.

Without failure no success, no live without death

Prof. Markus Deckert, dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, gave the keynote speech. He explored the essentials of what it means to be a physician and a psychotherapist, and he underlined the common anthropological concepts underlying both professions, i.e. need and aid.

Using a brief history of medicine from antiquity to the present, Deckert addressed both the challenges and the privileges involved. “Your encounters with people and human life are different from most other encounters. You get to know suffering and misery, even in unexpected circumstances. You are faced with death earlier than most others, and with personal questions about your own life. You are going to see and experience people in all possible conditions. Get engaged with this encounter, it will enrich your lives. Before long you will learn that death is a condition of life. Without failure there is no success, and there is no life without death.”

Help, heal, save lives

Deckert spoke of the good fortune and pride to be able to help, heal and save lives. In addition, he recommended the virtue of humility to the prospective physicians and psychotherapists: “The outcome may have been different. Often you only have one chance to get it right, and you do not know the result in advance. You are not repairing a machine. If your assessment is accurate, if your therapy works, there is always an element of luck involved, you might even say mercy. You can give direction but only seldom actively produce results. An experienced surgeon says, “I can do nothing but cut – the wound healing is the patient’s own doing.”

Musical entertainment around the ceremony was provided by the Berlin Jazz Ensemble with sax player and songwriter Johannes Albes who is a professor of cardiac surgery at the MHB. He wrote and composed two songs for the new students, the Medicine Song and the Psycho Song. Nele Neveling welcomed the beginners on behalf of the medical students, and Wilhelm Hesler for the psychology students. Neuruppin’s new mayor Nico Ruhle attended the ceremony for the first time.

Here is the entire programme of the virtual event, and this is the Video with full-length speeches and musical parts.

The next welcoming ceremony for new MHB students is scheduled for 1 October 2021.