The history of the academy

Mykola Sklifosofsky

The problem of training dentists in Russia became especially acute in the XIX century. Dental care was not provided to patients due to lack of professionals, because they were not trained in Russia (until 1881) or in Ukraine (until 1900). In this regard, the outstanding surgeon of that time M. Sklifosovsky at the VI Congress of Naturalists and Physicians substantiated a proposal on the need to train dentists with higher medical education at medical faculties of universities. But only after the First World War the solution of the question of training dental professionals capable of providing qualified specialized care began to acquire real features.

In Kharkiv and Kyiv medical and dental communities of those years there was an opinion that qualified and specialized dental care for the population of Ukraine can be provided only by medical specialists who have chosen the profession of a dentist from the very beginning, from the first steps of training at dental faculties of medical institutes or medical dental institutes, where the period of study may be limited to four years.

On September 30, 1921, the Board of Ukrgolovprofos decided to establish a Faculty of Odontology as a part of the Kharkiv Medical Academy and conduct appropriate organizational activities, as well as to recruit students and staff members. On November 8, 1921, at the meeting of the Small Board of Ukrgolovprofos, a decision was made to transform the Kharkiv Medical Academy into the medical institute with two faculties: Medical and Odontologic. This historic decision laid the foundation for higher dental education in Ukraine, and dentistry is recognized as an integral part of clinical medicine.

The legacy of the Odontologic Faculty was inherited by the Kharkiv Stomatological Institute in 1931, the Poltava Medical Stomatological Institute in 1967, and the Ukrainian Medical Stomatological Academy in 1994. In its formation and development, the Ukrainian Medical Stomatological Academy has passed a thorny path, which can be divided into six periods: the first: since the organization of the Faculty of Odontology at the Kharkiv Medical Academy (1921 - 1931); the second:  since the transformation of the faculty into independent Kharkiv Stomatological Institute (1931 - 1941); the third is the period of evacuation to Frunze city (Kyrgyz SSR) and its functioning as a faculty of the Kyrgyz Medical Institute (1941 - 1944); the fourth: re-evacuation to Kharkiv after its liberation from Nazi invaders, restoration of training bases and further development of scientific research (1944 - 1967); the fifth:  transfer to Poltava and its transformation into Poltava Medical Stomatological Institute (1968 - 1993); the sixth: since 1994, after the transformation of the institute into the Ukrainian Medical Stomatological Academy.

V. Vorobyov

The first period (1921 - 1931)

In September 1921, 250 people with secondary education began their studies at the first year of the Odontologic Faculty of the Kharkiv Medical Academy. The second-year-students involved 169 people who were enrolled for the second year of study at dental school and during the summer holidays studied a shortened course of medical and biological disciplines. At the faculty 4 special departments were formed, namely, Conservative Dentistry with Propaedeutic Odontology (headed by Professor Y. Gofung), Prosthetic Dentistry with Orthodontics (headed by I. Baranov), Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery  (headed by Professor M. Fabrikant). Theoretical and general clinical disciplines were studied at the respective departments of the institute. Kharkiv State Stomatological School became the specialized medical facility of the faculty.

During its existence, the faculty has formed a capable, highly qualified, friendly team, which, along with solving educational problems, has made a significant contribution to the development of medical science. Faculty members have created 13 textbooks on dentistry and numerous textbooks for students. Among the teachers who worked at the faculty in those years was a well-known anatomist, Academician V. Vorobyov, the author of outstanding works on the latest methods of embalming. It was he who was commissioned in 1924 to embalm Lenin’s body.

Summing up the first decade of the faculty’s existence, it should be noted that together with the Faculty of Odontology at KMI they became the first specialized higher educational institutions for training dentists, and methodological centers of dental education in Ukraine.

The second period (1931 - 1941)

Head of Department
is providing counseling

The process of the formation and further development of the Stomatological Faculty, and then the institute, happened in very difficult circumstances that developed in the country in the early 30’s. The economic difficulties experienced by the country and the search for ways out of them required measures to protect people’s health, expand the number of hospitals, sanatoriums, health resorts, dispensaries, dental clinics, etc. These and other problems could be solved only with better training of dental staff.

It was during this period, in August 1931, that the Stomatological Faculty at the Kharkiv Medical Institute was reorganized into independent Kharkiv Stomatological Institute with a 4-year term of study. 3 special departments were organized: Oral Surgery, Therapeutic Dentistry, Prosthetic Dentistry. Each department had its own affiliated training medical facility. The institute employed highly qualified teaching staff. M. Nezhdanov was appointed to the position of the Director of the institute, and Professor Y. Gofung was appointed as a Deputy Director for Research and Academic Activities. Almost all teachers at special departments had higher medical education.

From September 1931 to September 1941, the institute trained 650 physicians, and a total of 913 dentists since 1921. In addition, more than 2,500 dentists graduated from the correspondence department, externship and retraining courses; they got qualification of a dentist.

The third period (1941 - 1944)

On June 22, 1941, in the building 7, Pushkina Str., a scientific conference was held. 

At 11:45 a break was taken, during which it became known about the treacherous attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union. This message caused anger and indignation among teachers and students. They understood what kind of trouble befell the people, the nation, the Motherland. 

Graduation ceremony of dentists was held on June 23, 1941. Dentists’ diplomas were awarded to 180 students. 62 students were transferred to the second year, 132 - to the third, 130 - to the fourth. On the same day, the Director of the institute, G. Lychman, issued an order demanding the dismissal of all those who were subject to conscription into the Red Army, to find alternatives of them, to pay their salaries in full, and made acceptance of all their files and materiel. Further, the order required to reorganize the groups for all courses, to make a schedule, to organize training according to the shortened academic plan issued by the People’s Commissariat of Health of the USSR in accordance with special instructions. In the first period, 45 people from Kharkiv Stomatological Institute joined the army. Among them were 27 teachers, 16 employees and 2 students.

The fourth period (June 1944 - May 1967)

This time in the history of UMSA is characterized by the re-evacuation of the institute to Kharkiv, its formation and development in the post-war period. In July 1944, Professor P. Vlasenko, an experienced manager, an outstanding scientist, and a biologist by education, was appointed as the Director of the institute. The administration of the institute and some medical and biological departments were located in a 4-storey building on 53, Pushkinska Str. Anatomical departments were shared by students of medical and dental institutes, based at KhMI. General clinical departments were located on the affiliated city hospitals (Children’s Hospital, 2nd Soviet Hospital, etc.). Departments of ENT- and Ophthalmological Diseases were based on the corresponding scientific research institutes, and Dermatovenereal Diseases on the basis of the 4th Dermatovenereal Dispensary.

Work in the operating room

In 1954, by the Decree of the Government of the USSR, stomatological institutes were reorganized into stomatological faculties of medical universities, but two of them, in Moscow and Kharkiv, remained as independent medical stomatological institutes. In the post-war years, the main areas of scientific research of the institute’s staff members in dentistry were the continuation of clinical, morphological and clinical-microbiological studies of dental diseases and the development of methods for their treatment. In the same years, together with therapists and oral surgeons, prosthodontists made a significant contribution to the development and improvement of methods for the complex treatment of periodontal diseases, maxillofacial injuries and the restoration of malocclusions.

Post-war research materials have been compiled in doctoral and PhD theses. During these years, foundations were laid for the execution of a number of doctoral and several dozens of PhD theses.

The fifth period (1967 – present time)

On May 12, 1967 the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted Resolution №294 on the transfer of the Kharkiv Medical Stomatological Institute to Poltava. In this regard, on May 18 of the same year the Ministry of Health of Ukraine issued Order №269 on the transfer of the Kharkiv Medical Stomatological Institute to Poltava during 1967-1968. The transfer was carried out in two stages.

At the first stage -  in July - August 1967 - the departments of medical and biological profile were relocated and settled in Poltava in a 4-storey building in 23, Shevchenko Street till the beginning of the academic year, that was until September 1, 1967. At the second stage, in July - August 1968, the departments of clinical, including stomatological profile, were redeployed and the bases for their placement before the beginning of classes were prepared. In 1994, Poltava Medical Stomatological Institute received the highest IV level of accreditation and the status of the Ukrainian Medical Stomatological Academy. In 2014, the IV accreditation level was confirmed by the Accreditation Commission of Ukraine.

Students of all faculties are fully provided with workplaces equipped with modern techniques and facilities. For lectures, 7 classrooms with 150-250 seats each are used, which allows conducting classes with students in one shift. The Rectors and administration of the academy created the necessary conditions for conducting high-level educational activities by optimizing the methodology and content of training, increasing the exactingness and objectivity in assessing knowledge, improving the material support of the educational process, its personalization, and activating upbringing in the learning process.

In 2021, the Higher State Educational Institution of Ukraine "Ukrainian Medical Stomatological Academy" is going to celebrate its glorious anniversary - the 100th anniversary of the founding of Alma Mater.

Ukrainian Medical Stomatological Academy passed the long and glorious way of its development from the Faculty of Odontology, created as a part of the Kharkiv Medical Academy in 1921, to the leading specialized institution on training medical professionals, in particular, dentists.

In almost 100 years, the Academy has become an esteemed scientific centre for dental education in Ukraine.

The current period of the history of the Ukrainian Medical Stomatological Academy is the years of its international recognition. The rapid development of the educational institution, the opening of new faculties and specialities, the training of its own staff members within the academy, the introduction of new progressive forms and methods of work, awareness of the high mission of higher education is a strong guarantee of further development.