80 new students at MHB

Neuruppin, 7 October 2019

Last Friday, 4 October 2019, about 80 new students of medicine and psychology celebrated their enrolment at the event venue Kulturkirche Neuruppin. The president of the Brandenburg parliament Prof. Ulrike Liedtke congratulated the students on their choice of a university.

Prof. Ulrike Liedtke, as newly elected president of the Brandenburg parliament the leading political representative of the state of Brandenburg, congratulated the new students on their choice of a university and also on having passed the selection procedure. Underlining the importance of empathy in physicians and therapists, she suggested a stronger focus on medicine as the art of healing, insofar as a physician should include in patients’ assessment not only their illness but social aspects, live situation and relations to others prior to diagnosis and therapy, and should perceive patients as autonomous and active partners, also in borderline situations of life.

Liedtke who holds a doctorate in musicology invited the newcomers to travel around Brandenburg on free weekends and discover its beauty and numerous cultural attractions. She promised a warm welcome to every prospective physician willing to settle down in the region where good physicians and therapists are in great demand, and declared her continued commitment to appropriate institutional funding for the MHB.

In his welcoming address MHB president Prof. Edmund Neugebauer pointed out that the socio-civilian objective in founding the Brandenburg Medical School in 2014 was to train physicians and psychologists specifically to strem the existing and still growing shortage of medical services in the region: “To date, the MHB is the only medical school in the state of Brandenburg. It is doing extremely well, with regular positive evaluations of its programmes. Our medical students achieve above-average results compared to other medical schools in progress tests at the start of each semester. And the department of psychology offers formats of student education that are unique nation-wide, such as the Clinic Day and the TRIK seminars (teamwork, reflection, interaction, communication).”

The president announced a number of new elements in the MHB organisation: “This winter term is the first time that we admit not only students of psychology but also of medicine. We shall continue to increase the intake next year and aim to double the number of places for medical students. This capacity expansion is another well-considered and important step in developing the MHB and at the same time securing and improving medical services in the state of Brandenburg.”

Changes with regard to psychology originate in a new law passed by the Bundestag late in September to revise the training of psychotherapists. In future, applicants may start university studies of psychotherapy immediately after leaving school, and Neugebauer promised to offer a corresponding MHB programme by next year: “Our current psychology programmes with their clinical orientation already fulfil the majority of requested revisions. The new concept for the training of psychotherapists shortens and facilitates the way to graduation considerably. In future, the license to practise as a psychotherapist – comparable to medicine – may be applied for after a state examination upon completion of a polyvalent three-year Bachelor programme and a two-year Master programme. We plan to offer this new programme for the winter semester 2020/21 at the latest, and thus lay the groundwork for a modern and attractive format of psychotherapy training in Brandenburg. In this, as in many other respects, the MHB will again assume the role of a pioneer and pacemaker!”

Dr. Peter Noack, chairman of the Brandenburg Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians KVBB, addressed changes in the health sector caused in particular by digitisation and expressed hopes for continued empathy between doctors and patients despite any technical advances.

In her words of greeting, 3rd-semester psychology student Lena-Sophie Pluschke compared the MHB to a start-up: organisational processes take some time to run smoothly, but the freedom of design is considerable. “Any suggestions you have will be taken seriously, and team efforts will be made to find solutions. This helps to make life as pleasant as possible for students, teachers and staff alike.”

Franz Eggert (2nd semester) admitted feelings of being privileged as a medical student, from which he derived the obligation to give something back to the university and to society. He described the commitment and volunteer work of numerous MHB students in work groups, initiatives or university politics: from a scheme of psychological counselling for students suffering from exam nerves and the organisation of a debate with Health Minister Jens Spahn to a project directed against discrimination and racism. He spoke of the supportive and familial environment he enjoys at the MHB, with a wide range of diverse individuals who pursue studies and extracurricular projects with dedication. He reminded the newcomers of their strong external impact as students at a still young university and as future doctors, and he invited them to share their ideas, dreams and beliefs. In conclusion, he quoted former Chancellor Willy Brandt who advocated a society that offers more freedom and asks for joint responsibility.

The keynote speaker was Prof. Dr. Gerd Gigerenzer from the Harding Center for Risk Literacy, former director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin), whose prize-winning specialised books have been translated into 21 languages. He recommended an informed, reflective and generally more relaxed approach to risks and expressed his wish for students who – upon graduation at the latest – are familiar with health statistics and know how to interpret them correctly and convey the findings contained therein to their patients.

A further highlight was the award of six grants from the Deutschlandstipendium scholarship programme and of five MHB grants, with TV presenter Carla Kniestedt acting as moderator of the event. The musical part was provided by singer/songwriter Sebastian Ripl, who is enrolled in the MHB Master programme of clinical psychology and psychotherapy, and singer Selina Wolff.
The official part with approximately 350 guests was followed by a reception and a buffet with regional delicacies, a solo performance by Sebastian Ripl and then a party with DJ Dr. M. A total of about 460 students are currently enrolled at the MHB, 260 in medicine and 200 in psychology.
Medical student Patrick Blüschke captured special moments of the day on video.