New medical doctors for the State of Brandenburg

Neuruppin/Brandenburg an der Havel, 29 August 2021

The first class of students have completed their medical training at the Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane (MHB – state-recognized university, founded in 2014). The location for the farewell ceremony with ca. 300 guests last Saturday was the former convent St. Paulikloster, Brandenburg an der Havel. Congratulations came from Health Minister Jens Spahn and Prime Minister Dr. Dietmar Woidke.

In his welcoming words MHB president Prof. Edmund Neugebauer showed himself highly satisfied with the first successful graduates of the Brandenburg medical model curriculum as the first physicians ever to be trained in the State of Brandenburg.

Adhesive effect has worked

About six years ago, the Brandenburg Medical School was established on the initiative of several municipal and non-profit hospitals with the idea to ensure and improve health care in the State of Brandenburg via newly trained medical doctors. Before, Brandenburg was the only non-city state in Germany without educational facilities for physicians.

MHB president Prof. Edmund Neugebauer referred to famous quotations from Theodor Fontane when he praised the graduates’ courage and perseverance: “Our very first graduates of the Brandenburg medical model curriculum have shown both: courage to opt for medical studies at a newly founded and not yet well-established university in a non-metropolitan area; perseverance to last the course despite the challenges involved. We wish to say thank you with today’s ceremony and congratulate you on your successful graduation. You are writing history!”

It takes a whole village

“We are pleased that the majority of our graduates will stay in Brandenburg for the coming years. The adhesive effect frequently invoked in the early stages of the MHB appears to have worked. About 2/3 of our graduates will complete their specialist training at one of the cooperating hospitals. This is our initial contribution to addressing the shortage of physicians and improving patient care in the region – a wonderful success not only for this young university and our cooperating hospitals but also for the entire State of Brandenburg, a truly historical moment.”

Neugebauer went on to thank all those who supported the foundation and the development of the MHB with passion and personal commitment: “You may know the African proverb that it takes a whole village to raise a child. Applied to the MHB, we might say that it takes a whole village and an entire region to establish a university. Many from the village and the region are here today, and this makes me happy! You may all count yourselves among the founding members; without your contributions we would not be what we are today.”

Praise and appreciation from the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Dr. Dietmar Woidke added his praise and congratulations: “These young physicians can be rightly proud. With your decision to study at a newly founded private medical school in Brandenburg you entered new territory. The reward for your courage was an innovative and practice-oriented curriculum. From now on you will act as ambassadors for the MHB, and your graduation is something like a seal of quality for the young university and for medical studies in Brandenburg.” He thanked the young doctors for their dedication also in times of the pandemic and for their assistance in clinics, surgeries, vaccination and test centres and health departments: “You have demonstrated to the local population that Brandenburg has medical students and therefore future physicians. I hope that as many of you as possible will remain in the region and help to improve the provision of health care. There is an urgent need for young physicians specifically in rural areas.”

He also found words of praise for the MHB, its notable developments since 2014, its advances in research, education, curricular and administrative affairs as well as in regional, national and international cooperation and partnerships. He declared himself impressed by what the MHB, the cooperating clinics and all other partners and supporters achieved within a few years and in high quality, and he promised reliable support from the State of Brandenburg for the next major challenge, the institutional accreditation by the Council of Science and Humanities.

"Outstanding and memorable achievement"

Health Minister Jens Spahn who had to cancel his participation on short notice sent congratulations by video message. He underlined the pioneering role of the graduates as the first to complete the Brandenburg medical model curriculum and highlighted the innovative elements of their education: integration of preclinical and clinical training, interdisciplinary instruction, early engagement in practice, intense exchange with cooperating hospitals and academic teaching practices, and a strong focus on communicative competences across all semesters. Other universities and medical schools, so Spahn, are certain to follow this example step by step. “Your studies at the MHB have prepared you for a number of changes and developments which will become increasingly manifest in health care. As the first MHB graduates you have completed a demanding medical curriculum in particularly difficult conditions due to the pandemic – an outstanding and memorable achievement. My sincere congratulations!” The pandemic, so the Health Minister, again emphasizes the need for qualified health personnel specifically in rural areas.

"We are a model for success!"

Gabriele Wolter, managing director of the university clinic Brandenburg an der Havel, congratulated the graduates on behalf of the MHB associates and found emotional words of thanks for attending protagonists from politics and the clinical partners: “Your untiring efforts, your perseverance, your firm belief in the vision of a medical school in Brandenburg have always been essential contributions, you have motivated and inspired us. We started out together, worked together to attain that goal, and now we are a model for success!”

Marie-Luise Flohr and Johanna Seiffert spoke on behalf of the graduates and reviewed the stages of their time at the MHB. Graduation certificates were handed over by Prof. Dr. Dieter Nürnberg (founding dean), Prof. Dr. Wilfried Pommerien (former vice dean for curricular and student affairs), Prof. Dr. René Mantke (former vice dean for research and academic affairs) and Prof. Dr. Markus Deckert (dean, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology).

The ceremony also marked a turning point for MHB president Prof. Edmund Neugebauer who officially handed over the baton to Prof. Hans-Uwe Simon as the new MHB president from 1 September.

Musical accompaniment was provided by the MHB chamber ensemble under Prof. Michael Hauptmann and a choir (Extra Chor Brandenburg headed by Karsten Drewing). Karsten Schwanke acted as presenter. The ceremony was organized as a hybrid event, i.e. with attendance on site under current Corona regulations and a detailed hygiene concept and also in the form of a live-stream broadcast.

Recording of the ceremony on YouTube

Contact for media enquiries:

Dr. Eric Alexander Hoffmann
My pronouns: he/him
Head of Communications, University Spokesperson
Phone: +49 3391 39-14160