Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad de Chile: 170 años al servicio del país
The first course on Medical Sciences in Chile was inaugurated in 1833, being its director William C Blest, MD, an Irish physician graduated in Edinburgh University. Therefore, Dr. Blest can be considered the founder of Chilean formal medical education. When the University of Chile was established (in 1842), among its five initial Faculties was included Medicine, on the basis of the Medical Sciences course created ten years before. By then, the medical profession was not yet socially reputed and the initial years of the Faculty were difficult. During the 19th Century and until the second decade of the 20th century, this was the only medical school in the country. Its development was slow but sustained, reaching its apogee in the middle of the 20th Century, when it had outstanding clinical and basic sciences teachers and investigators. Clinical research, postgraduate teaching and medical specialization had a great development during that period. Nowadays, it is a complex Faculty that teaches eight health sciences courses leading to different professional titles, gives higher academic degrees in biomedicine and public health and certifies different medical specialties. It has a modern, well equipped library and a unique Museum of Medicine. Besides the traditional Departments in Medical Faculties, it has Departments of Medical Teaching, Bioethics and Medical Humanities. It provides continuing medical education programs and distance teaching has recently experienced a great development. The community is also favored with specific teaching programs. The academic promotion of its faculty members is based in a strict evaluation. During its existence, the Faculty has graduated a large number of physicians and other health care professionals. Our country should be grateful to the University of Chile Faculty of Medicine, in its 170th birthday, for its outstanding contribution to the development, welfare and happiness of Chilean society (Rev Méd Chile 2003; 131: 355-8).