For the edition of the academic year 2021/202, the Integrated Master in Medicine at the University of Algarve has 64 places available.
After having managed to assert itself at national and international level, the Integrated Master in Medicine (MIM) has contributed in a very positive way to the establishment of doctors in the Algarve and to the improvement of the quality of healthcare and associated research, namely through training about 300 new doctors, of whom about 37% currently work in the Algarve region. Also noteworthy is the increase in the number of doctors in the Algarve who hold doctoral degrees, which went from two in 2009 to more than 25 in 2020.
The Order of Doctors has also publicly recognised the UAlg Medical Course, namely by incorporating the “Manuel Machado Macedo” awards to the best students of MIM-UAlg in the context of the “Hippocratic Oath” ceremonies in Lisbon. This recognition is also expressed by winning first place in the European Medical Simulation Championship (2018) and by the marks obtained in the exams to access the medical specialty, with a graduate from UAlg obtaining the best classification in the first edition of the National Access Test (PNA), where the remaining finalists also obtained a higher national average. Also noteworthy are the exams of the "European Board of Medical Assessors", whose results of MIM students were above the population average of participating universities: Helsinki University, Finland; Maastricht University, Holland and David Tvildiani Medical University, Georgia.
First Master in Medicine created in Portugal
It should be remembered that the Integrated Master in Medicine of UAlg, announced publicly in 2008, by the 17th Constitutional Government, was described by the then Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Mariano Gago, as “innovative in our country in pedagogical terms” not only due to the selection process to allow the entry of students already holding the first cycle of university studies, but also due to being based on a pedagogical model in an experimental tutorial regime, based on clinical case studies.
This course lasts for four years, its programme is entirely based on Problem Based Learning (PBL) and it includes clinical teaching from Year One. Although most of these characteristics are not innovative in themselves, given that other foreign medical schools apply them in one way or another, the integration of all of them in the same medical course can only be seen at UAlg. Another major difference in relation to other Portuguese medical courses is related to the selection criteria: in addition to the need to hold a degree, applicants are also subjected to a first phase of assessment of their cognitive and linguistic abilities and, to another, based on the assessment of human values. Early contact with General and Family Medicine (GFM) is another of the differentiating factors. Primary health care is the cornerstone for health promotion and disease control in societies such as the Portuguese society. This course aims to educate future doctors for a broader approach to the person and the community. “Contact with the patient from the first week of classes, tutored by a GFM specialist in a 1:1 ratio, is the basis for the doctor's preparation for any specialty, not just GFM”, says Isabel Palmeirim, course director.
This was the first Master's in Medicine created in Portugal, similar to those that already existed in most developed countries, exclusively for students who hold the first cycle of university studies.
Receiving more than 400 applications per year for only 32 places (in the first 4 years), then 48, and now 64, this course has already trained nearly 300 doctors. In addition to the Algarve region, these are distributed throughout the country and even in European countries, representing most medical specialties, such as Neurosurgery, Cardiology, Maxillofacial Surgery, General and Family Medicine (GFM), Gastroenterology, Urology and Anaesthesia.
Already with a good part of its teaching staff accredited in Medical Education by the European Medical Education Association, the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of UAlg has as one of its objectives the development of the Algarve region as an attractive place for the practice of Medicine and training of young doctors. In this sense, the ABC-Algarve Biomedical Centre was created, a consortium between the University of Algarve and the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve, which aims to bring together researchers, students, health professionals and representatives of entities related to education, training, scientific research and regional development, with the objective of improving health care.