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With the option of studying in Erlangen and completing parts of their degree in Bayreuth, the number of medical graduates in Bavaria is expected to grow by up to 100 per year in all by 2026. In an interview with UBTaktuell, Prof. Dr. Hans-Rudolf Raab, Medical Managing Director of Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH, and Alexander Mohr, Commercial Managing Director of Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH, explain the status of the project. But first: some information about the status of the project.

The "Medizincampus Oberfranken" MCO

The University of Bayreuth is one of the project partners of the Medizincampus Oberfranken (MCO). In this initiative, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), University Hospital Erlangen, Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH, and the University of Bayreuth make it possible for young people to train as doctors in the new "Human Medicine Erlangen-Nuremberg/Bayreuth" degree programme.

The course is managed by the FAU Faculty of Medicine, where pre-clinical training takes place. The students subsequently transfer to Bayreuth for the clinical part of their studies. At Klinikum Bayreuth, 30 clinical professorships and a large number of teaching and research positions are established to provide comprehensive university education.

  • The first students began their training in the 2019/20 winter semester.
  • In spring 2022, they will transfer to Bayreuth.
  • By 2026, the study programme will be fully developed.
  • It will then comprise around 600 future doctors, more than 400 of them in Upper Franconia.
 

Complementary medicine-related professorships at the University of Bayreuth that are not directly clinical in the focus areas of Public Health, Digital Healthcare and Molecular Biosystems broaden the existing research foci of the participating universities. They sharpen the profile of MCO and, through cooperation with established and new partners, contribute to researching both basic science and technology, applications, and innovative models in medical care, especially in rural areas. To this end, MCO's growing network extends to regional teaching and research practices, their staff and patients.

This attractive cooperation offers special opportunities to focus medical practice outside of conurbations, to regionalise medical training, and to provide direct benefits for patients from Upper Franconia and far beyond. One of the central missions of the University of Bayreuth is to integrate students of human medicine into everyday university life, and to provide them interdisciplinary perspectives.

It is an exciting task and opportunity for the University City of Bayreuth to offer more young people a new home, which may also open up career prospects for life after graduation. This strengthens the entire region and, in the long term, certainly also local medical care.

Interview with the managing directors of the Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH

MCO has many partners. Who else (practices, etc.) is on board besides the University of Bayreuth (UBT), Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), and Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH (KB), and why?

Prof. Dr. Hans-Rudolf Raab, Medical Managing Director of Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH:  The establishment of Medizincampus Oberfranken is the result of an initiative by the Bavarian state government. The aim is to strengthen the entire region of Upper Franconia, especially by improving the number of doctors working here. In future, the clinical part of medical studies, i.e. the last 4 years, can be completed at Klinikum Bayreuth. The first two years of preclinical studies will take place in Erlangen. In Bayreuth, 100 additional medical study places will be created for the Free State of Bavaria at Medizincampus Oberfranken. Hence, the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts is the lead partner. For general medicine, which is an important part of the study programme, a network of specially trained teaching practices is being developed. Students can then gain important practical experience there at an early stage. This cooperation is unique in Bavaria.

What positive effects do you expect from it - for the hospital and for the region, for Upper Franconia?

Alexander Mohr, Commercial Managing Director of Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH: The positive effects are manifold and can already be felt. A multifunctional building is currently being built at Klinikum Bayreuth, which will bring several million euros to the regional economy. Further infrastructural measures must and will follow. More than 150 jobs will be created to ensure the operation of the medical campus. There is no question that in the final stage of development, 400 more students will enliven the City of Bayreuth economically and certainly also culturally. And if it is possible to attract some of these students to the region and give them a new home, an important structural policy goal will have been achieved, namely to counter the shortage of doctors in the rural region.

When and with what activities or tasks will the first FAU students start off their time in Bayreuth?

Raab: The students are already completing two internships at Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH as part of their pre-clinical training. In their 2nd semester, vocational field exploration is scheduled, and in 4th semester, an introduction to clinical medicine. The change of location from Erlangen to Bayreuth takes place in fifth semester if the Physikum stage has been passed in Erlangen. In concrete terms, this means that the first students will come to Bayreuth permanently in 2022. Then the clinical part of their studies will begin at the Medizincampus Oberfranken. Courses in subject areas for which Bayreuth cannot provide patients or subject-related infrastructure during the set-up phase will continue to be held temporarily in Erlangen. At the beginning of the clinical study phase, the majority of the courses are lectures, seminars, and tutorials, some of which are already held with patients who voluntarily make themselves available for this purpose. The further the course progresses, the more practical training and teaching is conducted at the patient's bedside.

What exactly should and must be created at the hospital to make it possible to study medicine there?

Mohr: For almost 40 years now, Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH, or to be precise, the Klinikum and Hohe Warte sites, which were legally independent before its foundation, has gained a wealth of experience as an academic teaching hospital of the medical faculty of FAU, and trained project students from Erlangen and from other university sites, in surgery, internal medicine, gynaecology/obstetrics, neurology, paediatrics, and radiotherapy, among other subjects. In future, clinical studies will also take place at the hospital and at Hohe Warte. For this purpose, hospital operations must also be further adapted to university requirements for research and teaching in the future. This requires a number of adjustments, e.g. the creation of personnel, spatial, and infrastructural resources, etc.

What are the interfaces to the University of Bayreuth?

Raab: The participation of the University of Bayreuth is particularly in the area of research. For this purpose, the Free State of Bavaria has promised a total of 10 non-clinical but medical-related so-called profile professorships. A new research building is to be built on the University campus to accommodate them and their scientific activities. On the one hand, the professorships will strengthen and expand the scientific focus of the University of Bayreuth, including in the areas of public health, digital healthcare, and molecular biosystems. On the other hand, they will also be a very important link to the academic clinical field, in order to embed research at MCO in an attractive new research environment, and to improve the opportunities for translational* research and basic research. A joint research platform is also planned for this purpose. In this way, the University of Bayreuth, is set to offer excellent opportunities for doctorates and habilitation within the framework of MCO.

What are the next steps to be taken?

Mohr: A final cooperation agreement is currently being drawn up by the partners involved in the overall project, in which the University of Bayreuth is also involved. At the same time, a detailed curriculum for clinical studies is being developed in cooperation with the Medical Faculty of FAU. Other sub-projects deal with detailed planning of infrastructure requirements for teaching, structural, and development planning of the clinical professorships to be filled at MCO, and demand planning for medical-scientific and non-scientific staff.  In addition, the shell of the multifunctional building at Bayreuth Hospital will soon be completed**. If the coronavirus situation permits, a festive topping-out ceremony will then take place.

*"Translational medicine" or "translational research" combines the two areas of medicine: findings from practice find their way into research and findings from basic research flow into patient care.

**Our upper picture shows the multifunctional building that will be available for research and teaching as well as for office space until the campus buildings are completed. Photo: Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH/May 2021

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