Roma Medical Education Program
Established at the Semmelweis University by Laszlo Rosivall, Budapest 2010
The issue of Roma integration in Europe unfortunately remains unresolved today after centuries even at the beginning of the third millennium. Without the development of a critical mass of Roma intellectuals the process of social integration cannot even seriously start or lead to durable results.
Roma population in the central-eastern Europe is considerable, reaching to around10% of the total population in some countries with a high birth rate. We believe that it is high time to deal with the traditionally and historically over-looked issue of Roma integration.
The future and assimilation of the Roma minority requires a strong, well-structured and wide effort in education for this group. Obviously, there is a special benefit in investing to train Roma teachers, priests, physicians, pharmacists among other specialists.
Having believed in the importance of the Roma education, I developed a special program for the education of the young Roma students who are ready and willing to study in one of the medically related fields. This program has 3 main characteristics:
- Scientific preparation of the students prior to their admission to the medical university in chemistry, biology, anatomy, etc.
- Tutor/mentor support for students after their admission to the medical university. The Roma students enjoy the mentoring support of the volunteer university professors.
- The social/cultural education and support of the students. This is an important part of our education and starts during the preparation and continues in the university. Lectures, visits to museums, theaters, and psychological consultations have been provided by the most prominent experts of the field such the president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Rector of the Music Art Academy and similar dignitaries.
We won a grant within the framework of the Semmelweis University (TÁMOP 2010-2012) which partially supports this program for two years. This grant only supports the education and not the accessory expenses (accommodation, boarding, travel, books, social and cultural costs, etc.).
Avicenna International College with a long tradition in the provision of the medical preparatory courses supported the program by providing the infrastructure and undertook the education during the preparatory phase.
The applicants took part in a written test and interview. The well- determined, talented students with a strong and proud identity (10 students) were invited to participate in the program.
The major elements of the education include:
- Biology (cell and molecular, organ)
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Chemistry (general, organic, bio-chemistry)
- Basic Immunology
- General English
- Medical English and Terminology
- Communication Skills
- Social education
All the students attended the classes enthusiastically with no absences and showed a great change and development. They successfully took part in the final examination and were granted the Certificate of Achievement.
Six students were admitted to the faculty of medicine and two were admitted to the College of Health sciences at Semmelweis University. All 8 students received tuition fee-free admission to the university supported by the Minister of Health.
Presently we already have 12 medical students and 4 college students at the Semmelweis University. In addition we have prepared 5 talented young gypsies to enter into the medical education and 1 to start at our college education from this autumn.
Each admitted student enjoys the support of a tutor who is in the rank of professor or associate professor. They meet with the students regularly and provide assistance and consultation. I receive the results of the achievements of all the students and follow their developments. The information is up-loaded to the website specially developed by our team for this purpose (http://cigany-orvoskepzes.eu). In the more difficult subjects, students receive extra education during their free time.
This program has proven to be a historical and successful model. As in this case, those Roma students receive the medical education and the support of our program that are proud with their identity and will go back to their communities after having completed their education.
We are determined to continue this program and establish it institutionally for future. We are very much encouraged and content that the public support, media attention and the contribution of the renowned intellectuals towards the program was immense and invaluable.