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Back Then: The Long History of the University’s Medicine Planning

You can study nearly all of the important subjects at the University of Bremen with one exception: medicine. But that was actually in planning at one point in time - and sometimes it still is.

The participants surely acted in good will as they addressed the matter within the founding senate of the University of Bremen in 1969. After all, they were only complying with the recommendation made by the founding board of the university that was being built and the science council, which wanted Bremen to offer preclinical studies in Medicine.

The responsible senators were also fans of the idea. There was one unsurprising exception - the Senator for Finance. He poured cold water on the matter when he pointed out the limit of the university investments until 1985, which was not allowed to be exceeded. Based on experience, it is possible to say that such a fact often did not put politicians off a good idea - especially as Bremen was a “donor state” in the German state fiscal equalization scheme at the time, thanks to ample tax income. It was better off than it is today.

From the university’s founding days: A medicine degree was repeatedly addressed at the founding senate meetings. This is a scene from February 1969.
© Hinrich Meyer / Fotoarchiv SKB-Bremen

An Early Form of Too Much Bureaucracy

Everyone happily set to work with an official report on the constructional integration within an existing clinic. The state authorities began the necessary decision-making process and the university also did not sit still. The responsible planning committee began their work - but not in the field of human medicine and dentistry as was planned by the state, but rather in occupational and social medicine. As is usual in such cases, a further report was required to assure one’s own position in terms of the subject matter. The result then necessitated there being a further assessment report soon. Immediately after the last report, a further….you get the picture.

In 1977/78, the medicine degree planning gained momentum once more. Several assessment reports on the establishment of a human medicine and dentistry training institute at the university in Bremen were presented for a decision to be made. The following ten years were surely interesting. However, they remain undocumented in the university’s archive. In 1986, with the submission of a memo written by doctors from the St.-Jürgen-Straße hospital in Bremen and the medical faculty of the University of Göttingen, the realization process entered into the decisive phase… with an assessment report!

Process Stopped 21 Years after Initial Talks

Subsequently, the affected clinic doctors and other involved circles tried to get an overview of the facts. However, their attempts remained unsuccessful. In 1990, state authorities noted that the question of if and how a medicine degree would be possible in Bremen may come up again in the frame of the continuation of the general university plan. This finally led to the planning activities being stopped - 21 years after initial talks were held by the founding senate.

4 3 Ideale Campus Rothe Denkschrift 1961 Farb 4zu3
There were plans for a university in Bremen long before its founding. In this memorandum from 1961, medicine was included as a matter of course.
© Rothe-Denkschrift 1961 / Universitätsarchiv

However, the idea of medical training popped up again in the following decades - in Bremen and at the university. Over the years, parties of all political ideologies continued to bring up the topic for discussion. Most recently in the fall of 2019, it was discussed whether medicine students could complete the clinical part of their training in the Hanseatic city.

“Slimmed Down Variation of a Medicine Degree”

In 2019, the Bremen State Parliament decided that a relevant assessment of the establishment of such a “slimmed down variation of a medicine degree” should take place. Practical training in cooperation with Bremen’s hospitals was a main focus. Even in this century, university representatives once more rejected the idea of a medicine degree. They were well aware that this would require financial means that Bremen State cannot realistically afford.

Health Sciences Are Medical Enough

Today, the university is happy to play a significant role in health science. After all, it is medical….

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