The portrait painted about Dr. Veronika Müller, Director of the Department of Pulmonology and recipient of the Pro Universitate Award was handed over in the framework of a ceremony. The painting prepared by the artist László Gyémánt was exhibited in the corridor on the first floor at the Rector’s Building.

She proves it again and again, on a daily basis that she is not only a physician ready to do everything for her patients, a great director who puts the department on a new path of development, a professor respected by her students, but she is also a great colleague and an extraordinary person whom one can always count on”, said Dr. Béla Merkely about Dr. Veronika Müller, Director of the Department of Pulmonology.

Dr. Veronika Müller received the Pro Universitate Award of Semmelweis University, which is the most prestigious recognition of the institution, at this year’s Semmelweis Day. The portrait painted about her prepared by the artist László Gyémánt, which was exhibited in the corridor on the first floor at the Rector’s Building, has now been handed over in the framework of a ceremony. As the Rector highlighted, the coronavirus epidemic meant a huge challenge not only to the institution, but to the country and the entire world. However, Semmelweis University, as a leading medical institution in Hungary and Central Europe, was already at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic when the virus appeared in Hungary.

Everyone, from students to health care professionals, participated in the work in an unprecedented collaboration. In addition to fighting for their patients on a daily basis, directors and department heads had to deal with a number of work organization tasks which had been unknown before. Such tasks were the continuous relocations, temporary relocation of organizational units, establishment of zones, creation of work schedules in an unpredictable environment with an unprecedented number of patients. In the most challenging months of the pandemic, all these difficulties became commonplace, and dealing with them was not an easy task. A good leader, however, never forgets about his/her colleagues as people: he/she supports the co-workers, constantly setting an example, taking on an extra burden. Dr. Veronika Müller, Director of the Department of Pulmonology exactly did that”, Dr. Béla Merkely said.

The Rector also added that the department had been involved in COVID care since the onset of the epidemic, and in addition to acute cases, they were among the first to treat the long-term effects of the coronavirus on the lungs and deal with the aftercare of the disease.

The Epidemic Block on Tömő utca led by Dr. Veronika Müller has become an internationally unique COVID care provider, which has not only focused on the treatment of patients, but has also greatly contributed to the university’s reputation and social recognition through its outstanding professional work”

– pointed out Dr. Béla Merkely.

The Pro Universitate Award is awarded to a person who has contributed to the development of the university, the realization of its goals, the promotion of its domestic and international reputation, and who has proved during his/her career that he/she is worthy of the university’s recognition. As Dr. Béla Merkely emphasized, in addition to these, the Senate of Semmelweis University awarded the Pro Universitate Award to Dr. Veronika Müller in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic. Dr. Veronika Müller has been working at Semmelweis University for 24 years: she used to be Deputy Director of the Department of Pulmonology for 11 years, and has been its Director from 1 July, 2018.

As a director, her most important goal is to create a 21st century clinic worthy of the medical profession. Most of her work is focused on patient care, but in addition to this, she also conducts research and plays a prominent role in medical education. She is the supervisor of several PhD students, medical students and medical residents. She received the Outstanding Scientific Student Conference Teacher Award this year. In recognition of her scientific achievements, she received the Bolyai Commemorative Plaque of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Vilma Hugonnai Award of Semmelweis University as well as the Ferenc Kováts Award of the Hungarian Respiratory Society”, said Dr. Béla Merkely, who expressed his appreciation to Dr. Veronika Müller and congratulated her on the recognition.

I would like to thank the university leadership for their trust and ongoing support for considering the Department of Pulmonology and myself worthy of the most direct and front line performance of the tasks related to COVID-19 care caused by SARS-CoV2”, said Dr. Veronika Müller in her speech.

She said that the pandemic meant a life-changing period for all physicians, health care workers and all Semmelweis Citizens. She also thanked her colleagues, the university leadership, physicians of other departments, as well as nurses, health care specialists, colleagues and students working in the economic and technical areas.

The epidemic has shown that the staff of Semmelweis University work together as a real team, always looking for a solution, because the most important is to help those who are most in need by fulfilling our oath to the best of our knowledge. I would also like to thank all the patients and their families who understood the difficult situation and bravely fought against the disease. The difficult period has taught us perseverance and innovation, which I hope we can properly pass on to the next generation of university students”

– said the Director of the Department of Pulmonology.

The artist László Gyémánt, who had previously painted the portraits of several former rectors of the university, congratulated the awardee and he also spoke about his relationship towards the university and why he considered it as a special task to paint the portrait of Dr. Veronika Müller.

Ádám Szabó
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University
Translation: Katalin Illés-Romhányi