Summer School “Integrative Approaches in Systems Physiology” – embracing interdisciplinarity through international prism

“Teaching Medical Skills” is an international project serving non-profit educational purposes in Ukraine since February 2017, funded by Ukrainians studying in Germany and Ukraine. Members of the project promote an integrated problem-based learning approach in the Ukrainian medical education system and create high-quality and accessible learning resources for the effective development of a new generation of doctors.

Aiming international collaboration and interdisciplinarity in teaching, TMS united 10 professors from all over Germany and 70 medical students from Ukraine during a 7-day summer school “Integrative Approaches in Systems Physiology” taking place on 18-25th August 2019 in Lviv, Ukraine on the solid basis of cooperation with the Danylo Halyzkyi National Medical University and the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine. Coverage of a range of topics in neurophysiology and cardiovascular physiology was made possible due to financial support from DAAD (German Academic Exchange Society) and collaboration with the German-Ukrainian Research Society. 

Read from the students’ perspective:

Dear friends, 

 If you are reading this blog, you are probably as enthusiastic about physiology and medicine as we are. This understanding makes us even more excited to share with you our experience in promoting science and evidence-based medicine in our home country – Ukraine. As Ukrainians and, hopefully, future doctors, this goal gets us out of bed every morning. 

Our team

But first of all, let us briefly introduce ourselves. Every one of us is an inspired and motivated Ukrainian studying medicine either in Ukraine or in Germany and desperately trying to find their path in life. But together we – more than 30 young people – are a project called “Teaching Medical Skills” (https://tms.team/en/). Back in 2017, being in love with medicine and trying to get the best education possible, we all were not quite ready to accept the current status quo in the medical education system in Ukraine. To galvanize students into taking responsibility for their training, we decided to create a non-profit project in order to establish international collaboration and interdisciplinarity in teaching medicine. 

But how to do so if we are only students and lack support from local universities and colleagues abroad? It was where peer-teaching came to hand. By 2018 we established a training system for Ukrainian tutors and created more than 20 lectures. To facilitate our work progress, we collaborated with the German-Ukrainian Academic Society (https://ukrainet.eu) and applied for a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). To our great surprise the DAAD agreed to support our idea, so that August 18th – 25th 2019, we united nine professors from Germany and 70 best medical students from all over Ukraine during a Summer School “Integrative Approaches in Systems Physiology”. The program consisted of 10 student tutorials conveying background knowledge, and nine professors’ lectures focusing on new research data and its clinical application. We also developed an e-learning platform for medical students (https://tms.team) which became our basis to perform online tutorials during the current quarantine. 

Professors, tutors and participants

It was an exciting and challenging opportunity which again strengthened our belief that we are capable of change when working together. Yes, healthcare in second world countries, such as Ukraine, needs to be reformed systematically, and there is still noticeable resistance against change in Ukrainian society. But such transformations cannot be implemented unless we all support them with actions. 

Thank you very much for reading our story. We will greatly appreciate your feedback and are eager to cooperate. Please let us know what you think by connecting via e-mail to tmsumsa@gmail.com