ASTANA – A new building opened Jan. 25 at Nazarbayev University School of Medicine.
Designed by leading American architectural firm Perkins + Will, the 39,825-square metre institute includes research and teaching laboratories, a simulation centre, anatomical laboratory, lecture halls, group study rooms, library and dining room.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with faculty and students as part of the official opening.
“The level of teaching and medical school equipment can be compared with the world’s top universities. I am expecting life-changing scientific discoveries from you. The research, laboratory capacity and scientific potential of teachers allow you to find new methods to treat the most difficult diseases and prolong life. This school is created as the main basic school which will lead the way for other universities,” he said.
The head of state noted the world is currently experiencing scientific progress in the fields of medicine and biology, subjects which play major roles in conjunction with information technology.
“All subjects are interrelated and a lot of discoveries occur at their confluence. We should develop science and we need versatile scientists,” he said.
The University of Pittsburgh will serve as the school’s strategic academic partner.
“We will cooperate as part of the Doctor of Medicine programme development. It is a four-year programme designed according to an American model. Students entering the programme must have a Bachelor’s degree. We will also cooperate with the School of Nursing to develop a programme for training nurses. We conducted a six-month course titled professional development programme for the nurses to work at the Universal Medical Centre clinics, which became part of our university in 2016. We plan to launch a two-year undergraduate programme for practicing nurses this year,” School of Medicine Executive Director Nurlan Algashov told The Astana Times.
The school has a diverse faculty, with local teachers and professors from the U.S., U.K., Italy, Singapore and Malaysia.
“Our local teachers are mainly practitioners with knowledge of English. We pay special attention to teaching experience and research activities when we select teachers,” he said.
Opened in 2015, the School of Medicine has a mission to train physicians to become highly qualified doctors with research skills and a fundamental understanding of medical science who are ready to contribute to the development of medicine and medical science in Kazakhstan.
The school has a current enrolment of 75 students for the Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Master of Public Health (MPH) programmes. A Master’s course in molecular medicine is scheduled to launch in August.
The simulation centre enables students to learn and practice with mannequins and other medical simulators. The practice allows students the chance to master specific skills, then work with patients. The school is also teaching students using standardised patients, specially-trained individuals who pretend to be patients.
Students also have opportunity to participate in small research summer projects in collaboration with second year teachers and are required to participate in research projects with faculty members the next year.