Saint Petersburg State Pediatric Medical Academy - History


St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical Academy (SPbSPMA), formerly known as Leningrad Pediatric Medical Institute (LPMI) is one of the leading schools of higher medical education of Russia and the oldest independent pediatric university in the world. It was founded in 1925 as the Institute for Protection of Maternity and Infancy. The main building of Academy was settled on the territory of City Children's Hospital, which started to receive first patients on May 25, 1905. The Children's Hospital was built as a series of separated pavilions to prevent spreading of infectious diseases.

The hospital project cost ended up with 1.7 billions in the currency of those days, and the hospital was rated as the best of Peterburg. K.А. Rauchfuss, V.N. Korovin, V.N. Raitz, famous Russian pediatricians, participated in planning and organizing of the hospital. There were 650 beds in the hospital. The huge staff, consisted of 28 physicians, 2 paramedics, 56 sisters of mercy, 2 masseurs, 232 nurses, 22 ward workers,6 workers of desinfection block, and 149 lower workers, was intended to provide the best possible care of sick children.

During the period of Russian Civil War(1918–1920) the hospital, as many others Russian medical institution, was neglected because of chaos and devastation in Russia. There was even a plan to close the hospital. Finally, the new government became aware of the issues of 20s years of last century (the huge amount of orphans and homeless children) and identified the problem of maternity and infancy as the most socially important. There was built a net of specialized departments and institutions of protection of maternity and infancy, devoted to learn causes of children and mother's morbidity and mortality, to develop a scientific basis for organization of treatments and prophylactics, and to prepare qualified medical specialists.

On January 7, 1925, the Scientific-Practical Institute of Maternity and Infancy Protection opened and had the name of Clara Zetkin. Upon this time, the structure of the institute was remodeled and included 11 clinical departments, a baby house, an infant house, the department to qualify children conditions, 3 clinics with up to 500 beds in each of them, an outpatient clinic, a children consulting center, and milk stations. The authors and organizers of new institute's project were famous pediatricians M.S. Maslov, A. Y. Goldfeld, Z.O. Mitchnik, A.L. Antonov, P.S.Medovikov, L.I. Erlikh, P.I.Lublinsky, A.V. Popova, the director of the institute V.O. Mochan, and many others. From the year of 1925 and till the year of 1949, the institute was headed by Yulia Aronovna Mendeleeva, a very talented initiator. She fell a victim of Soviet political repression in Doctor's Plot in 1949. The chief of hospital was D.S. Tumarkin.

In 1928, the scientific work began in the institute. The first departments of science and the PhD department emerged. Later, the institute became the Scientific Research Institute of Maternity and Infancy Protection and kept this status till 1932. The newly created departments of Physiology, Social Hygiene of Woman and Child, Hygiene and Nutrition Science Early Ages, Pathology of Children, Roentgenology, Child Phthisiatry, Acute Child Infections got involved in intensive teaching and research activities.

In 1932 the institute was transformed into the higher medical educational institution- "the clinic-med school". The country struggled with getting enough qualified medical specialists, and the child mortality still remained high. The government had to expand a net of clinical and preventive institutions and to establish health care in houses and correctional institutions for orphans. Soon, the whole department of maternity and infancy protection with professors and students of the First Leningrad Medical Institute was transferred to the Pediatric Institute. 82 students were registered for the fall semester of their first year. In 1935 "the clinic-med school" was reorganized into Leningrad Pediatric Medical Institute (LPMI), the first in the world specialized medical school for pediatricians training. There was the first graduate class of 51 child doctors in 1936. Upon the beginning of WWII, the institute trained 530 and improved training of 300 physicians. There were somatic, surgical, infectious, neurological, tuberculosis, venereal, obstetric, gynecological departments in the institute. Special attention was paid to prevention of infectious diseases. The quantity of beds in the hospital approached 1215 in 1940.

Throughout all years of World War II, the institute continued clinical, research, educational and organizational work. The majority of faculty and clinical staff remained in Leningrad, surrounded by German troops. On the German military maps, the pediatric institute had a specific number of 708 and had to be vanished. On the territory of institute, surgical and infectious hospitals were opened to treat soldiers and citizens. The Siege of Leningrad captured more than 400 thousands of children, interrupting their evacuation. Many of those children survived only because of self-sacrificing work of Leningrad's pediatricians. To save lives of little citizens of Leningrad, there were created 18 baby formulas with soy, malt, and other components. Every day, the institute's milk station fed more than 8000 babies. The main theme of research work changed and became closely related to the wartime. Distrophic conditions in children, vitamins deficiencies, war traumas were studied, described in monographies and PhD works. There were opened classes with studying of blood transfusion, the system of "the only pediatrician", nutrition of healthy and sick children, and infectious diseases and classes of continuing education for state infection control and prevention controllers, district pediatricians, and school physicians. Two times a month, pediatricians of Leningrad visited clinical rounds. Moreover, the institute trained staff of factories for diseases control and prevention.

In the 50s, the institute increased quantity of applicants up to 600. Experience and knowledge of faculty members became a base of Russian pediatrics and were summarised in medical textbooks and monographies: Studies of Child, Diagnosis and Prognosis, M.S.Maslov's Textbook of Child Diseases and Handbook of Dietetics of Yearly Child Ages, A.F.Tur's Child Hematology, M.D. Danilevitch's Basics of Child Infections, G.A.Bairov's Urgent Surgery of Newborns, N.P.Shabalov's Neonatology.

According to the order of Ministry of Healthcare, the institute became Saint-Petersburg Pediatric Medical Institute in 1992 and then received a status of academy in 1994. Currently, the academy has 50 departments. More than 400 applicants become students of the academy every year. To the year of 2000, more than 25000 physicians graduated from SpbSPMA, including 2000 physicians from foreign countries. The training of foreign students started in 1949. More than 3500 physicians improved their qualification on the Faculty of Continuing Education. Now, the academy hospital is a multiprofile healthcare institution with 815 beds and contains 5 clinics of a somatic profile and 10 specialized departments.

Scientists of the academy have significantly influenced the development of basic science studies and clinical pediatric studies. The most famous of them were E.S.London in Pathophysiology; F.I.Valker, D.D.Lokhov, A.G.Knorre in Morphology; A.G. Gynecinsky in Physiology; B.M. Berman in Microbiology; E.F.Davidenkova in Medical Genetics; V.A.Valdman in Internal Diseases; N.N.Elansky, R.R.Vreden, A.A.Rusanov in Surgery; S.A.Novoselsky, V.V.Paevsky in Medical Demographycs; S.S. Mnukhin in Psychiatry; K.K.Skrobansky in Obstetrics; L.I.Tchulitskaya in Paedology.

There are several scientific schools in the academy, and they continue to develop:

  • Pathology of young children of M.S.Maslov
  • Pediatrics of A.F.Tur
  • Infectious Diseases of M.G.Danilevich
  • Cardiorheumatology of A.B.Volovik
  • Phthisiopulmonology of P.S.Medovikov
  • Pediatric Surgery of G.A.Bayirov
  • Pediatric Nephrology of A.V.Papayan
  • Pediatric Gynecology of N.V.Kobozev
  • Social Pediatrics of N.G.Veselov

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