“The training programs of the Faculty of Dentistry of the 250-year-old Semmelweis University are recognized worldwide as being of high quality, making it an excellent location for organizing further training courses as part of cooperation agreements like the one we are signing here today,” said rector Dr. Béla Merkely in his remarks upon the signing of a cooperation agreement between the university, SHILA Medical Services and the Hungarian Dental Association. He pointed out that the Dental Clinical and Training Center is one of the biggest and most state-of-the-art dental institutes in Europe, where dentistry students from more than 35 countries are taught in Hungarian, English and German, and more than 100,000 patients a year are treated.
“Cooperation with various Hungarian and international institutions and professional organizations has always been important for Semmelweis University,” noted the rector, describing the university’s extensive international relations and underlining the importance of collaboration and exchanges of experience in academic life, education and patient care. He said foreign partners and the international students that graduate here carry the good name and reputation of the university around the world, and that expanding international relations also helps in achieving one of the institution’s most important goals, which is becoming one of the top 100 universities in the world within ten years. “It is our hope that the agreement signed here today will be the starting point for additional university-level cooperations in the future,” the rector noted.
In her speech, Dr. Katalin Nagy, the president of the Hungarian Dental Association (HDA), recalled the road that led to the current cooperation, pointing out that a 2016 delegation visit to Israel created the foundation for cooperation in the areas of science and education. The HDA signed an official agreement on scientific and education collaboration with the Israeli dental association in 2017, based on which the Israeli partner sought out its Hungarian counterpart to help find partner institutions to organize further training courses for its dentists, which would be financed by SHILA Medical Services, a part of the largest of Israel’s four public Sick Funds. “Considering the infrastructural and professional conditions, the choice clearly fell on Semmelweis University’s Faculty of Dentistry, where we were met with a positive reception from the start and received great help in organizing the project,” said Dr. Nagy. We are confident that the training courses to be organized will lead to further areas of cooperation in the future, she added.
SHILA Medical Services is fully owned by the largest public Sick Fund in Israel, it employs around 1400 dentists and is responsible, among others, to provide all its members dental care and treatment. CEO Eitan Schleifer said that a recent reform in their country expanded service coverage to include the treatment of elderly people, which found the company unprepared. “We decided to look around the world to seek universities that are ready and willing to provide training courses for our dentists on preparing full dentures, which is how we found Semmelweis University,” he explained. This is a very important starting point, the start of a new relationship between SHILA and Semmelweis, he added.
“It is always a great honor for Semmelweis University when national or international partners propose collaboration,” stressed Dr. Péter Hermann, vice-rector for education and director of the Department of Prosthodontics, who said the department is preparing for the cooperation by compiling the curriculum for the vocational training, which will hopefully meet the Israeli partner’s expectations. He also noted that the new partnership could positively impact the university’s position in international rankings and for international students applying to Semmelweis.
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University