Rector Dr. Béla Merkely noted that in this special year celebrating the 250th anniversary of the university’s foundation there will be several notable events, among them the ceremony on the opening of the academic year and the Summer University, which will be followed by other scientific and educational events. He emphasized that the university would like to more directly address the public, which led to the creation of the Semmelweis Health Days event series. The other objective of the initiative is calling attention to the importance of prevention, as the expected number of years spent living in health also depends on how much we know about how diseases can be prevented, said the rector. He added that at the ten events to be held between September 2019 and June 2020 at various university locations, families will also be able to part in screenings. Taking part in the events to be held on Fridays and Saturdays will be free of charge, but prior registration will be required. The detailed program of the events in updated continuously on the Semmelweis 250 website, said Dr. Béla Merkely.
The program for the Semmelweis Health Days, the first of which is Mental Health day to be held in September was presented by the host, Dr. János Réthelyi, the director of the university’s Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. The main theme of the first Semmelweis Health Day will be mental health, i.e. what we can do maintain our mental health and where we can turn to for help. He noted that they also welcome relatives of people struggling with mental issues to take part in the event, where programs will be organized for people of all ages. “Several departments of the university deal with mental health, and thanks to their cooperation there will be more than 70 programs held, including presentations, workshops, art and animal-assisted therapy sessions visitors can attend, but they will also be able to try out participating in a self-knowledge group,” said Dr. János Réthelyi. Topics discussed will include addiction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, sex education and healthy relationships. One of the highlights of the event will be a lecture by Ferenc Pál, the well-known Catholic priest and mental health expert, who will talk about burnout in work and private life.
Rector Dr. Béla Merkely added that the location where the press conference was held, the Anatomy Museum, a special facility reserved for medical students, which however will be opened to the public during the Semmelweis Health Days to be held in December. “The Department of Anatomy is the same age as the university and remains an inseparable part of medical training to this day,” the rector stressed.
For the duration of the event series, locations that are otherwise open only to professional staff, such as the operating rooms of the departments, the workplace of the forensic medicine experts, or the rector’s office, will be opened to the public as well.
The organizers plan to include at least one English-language program as well at every event. At the Mental Health day, for example, the experts sitting at the desks on memory and ADHD will also welcome foreign visitors in English, and there will be an English guide for an art gallery exhibition as well. For each event, the exact programs to be available in English will be noted on the website.
Translation: Tamás Deme
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University