History of the University

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Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU) – a new phenomenon of higher education in Lithuania. In 2010 after the resolution of the Seimas merging Kaunas University of Medicine (KMU) and the Lithuanian Veterinary Academy (LVA), LSMU has become the largest university in the field of biomedical studies in Lithuania, continuing the best traditions of KMU and LVA.

Lithuanian University of Health Sciences strives to create, accumulate, systematise and disseminate scientific knowledge, the  latest scientific and academic achievements, to teach and develop a creative,  honest, enterprising, educated, independent and entrepreneurial  personality, to foster democracy and welfare, a healthy and educated society. 

Through its activities, the university seeks to promote the economic and cultural prosperity of the country, the competitiveness of economic activities, and social cohesion.

Origins – the inter-war Vytautas Magnus University

Medical studies in Kaunas began in at the end of 1919. In 1920 the Department of Medicine has become a Department of Higher Courses. In 1922, after the establishment of the University of Lithuania, the Faculty of Medicine was established there. From 1922 to 1924 the Dean of the Faculty was Prof. Petras Avižonis, from 1924 – Vladas Lašas.

With the strengthening of the Lithuanian state, the material base of medical studies was created: the building of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases Clinic (1930), the building of the Faculty of Medicine (1933), and the building of the Faculty of Medicine Clinics (1940) were built. Medical studies in Kaunas continued even during the Nazi occupation (Dean Prof. Juozas Meškauskas).

In 1950 after the reorganisation of the university by the Soviet government, the Kaunas Medical Institute was established (Director Prof. Juozas Kupčinskas). Since 1953 KMI was headed by Prof. Zigmas Januškevičius, by whose efforts the institute participated in international programmes, the material study base was expanded. 1989 KMI was reorganised into Kaunas Medical Academy (Rector Prof. Antanas Praškevičius).

After the restoration of independence, the KMA turned to democratisation and structural reforms. 

Changes in the restored Lithuanian higher education institution

In a secret ballot by the KMA Council in 1991, Prof. Vilius Grabauskas was elected Rector of the KMA. Substantial structural changes have begun. In 1991-1992 scientific institutes of Biomedical Research, Endocrinology, Cardiology and Psychophysiology and Rehabilitation were established, and two new faculties –  Nursing and Public Health.

A three-cycle study programme in line with the EU Bologna Process was developed. The aim was to implement the principle of unity of studies, science and practical activities: profile clinics were established instead of clinical departments, agreements were signed with clinical hospitals, and the activities of KMA profile clinical departments were legalised in these hospitals. Doctors working in these hospitals were provided with the opportunity to train students, residents and do research work. The implementation of the modernisation process of studies was begun: study programmes were revised, the focus shifted on the integration of taught subjects, not necessarily on limiting factual information, teaching of subjects began along with studying in cycles, and the examination sessions have been abandoned. The study methodology was optimised, the students’ own responsibility, activity, independence were emphasised, developing the ability to solve practical problems and ensuring the objective evaluation of achievements.

In 1995 by the resolution of the Government of Lithuania, Kaunas Academic Clinics were legalised as a hospital of Kaunas Medical Academy and thus returned to authority of the higher education institution. In this way, the Lithuanian higher education institution that the heads of the Medical Faculty, of the Vytautas Magnus University, dreamed of in the interwar period was finally restored. In 1998 Kaunas Medical Academy was reorganised into Kaunas University of Medicine.

Continuing reforms of the study process

In 2002 Prof. Remigijus Žaliūnas is elected Rector of the University. The study process is being further reformed, distance learning opportunities and the international mobility of students and teachers are being expanded. All this enabled the successful implementation of the  problem-based learning system launched in 2005, which has been and continues to be a unique phenomenon at the national level. This system can be seen as the result of long-term cooperation with Switzerland.

Keitėsi ir studijų turinys. Buvo siekiama suteikti platų universitetinį išsilavinimą, didinti humanitarinių ir socialinių disciplinų apimtį. Iki aptariamojo laikotarpio sėkmingai palaikyti ryšiai su Pasaulio sveikatos organizacija (PSO) įgavo The content of studies also changed. The aim was to provide a wide university education, to increase the scope of humanities and social disciplines. Successful contacts with the World Health Organization (WHO) before the period in question have gained new momentum and scale.

Equal academies have merged

A new University Library and Information Centre opened in 2007. This is the first library in the Baltic States, after regaining their independence, designed and built according to the world’s latest university library standards. It incorporates modern library technologies: a self-service RFID system for lending and returning publications, and a virtual library. The LSMU Library is included in the catalogue of the most modern university libraries in Europe.

On 30 June 2010 after the resolution of the Statute of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences was approved by the Seimas, Kaunas University of Medicine and the Lithuanian Veterinary Academy merged into the largest higher education institution training biomedical specialists in Lithuania (Rector Prof. R. Žaliūnas).

The University unites two academies of equal standing –  Medical and Veterinary. There are 7 faculties and 5 institutes at the University, LSMU is the founder of the largest university hospital –  Kaunas Clinics, there are 2 large and small animal clinics, joint administrative departments and a Student Council. The newly created university symbols were approved by the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission. The slogan in the new university coat of arms is Salus pro Patria (Health for the Homeland). The author of the new heraldry – Rolandas Rimkūnas. 

The alliance between business and science in the same place

The Centre for Advanced Pharmaceutical and Health Technologies of LSMU was opened in 2014, as part of the Santaka Programme of the Integrated Science, Studies and Business Centre (Valley). This programme is also implemented by the LSMU partners – Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) and Lithuanian Energy Institute (LEI). The project, funded by the joint budget of the European Union and the Republic of Lithuania, provided a unique opportunity for LSMU to combine competencies and work with various groups of Lithuanian and international researchers under one roof. They carry out basic and applied research, business and public sector work here.

International cooperation has always singled out this university nationally. As many as three quarters of all international students studying in Lithuania studied here at the same time. International co-operation has gained momentum since 1991, but its foundations have been laid much earlier, thanks to previous leaders and their co-operation with international institutions.

2014 m. LSMU studijavo studentai iš Ispanijos, VoIn 2014, students from Spain, Germany, Israel and Sweden were studying at LSMU – a total of 616 students from 48 countries. The University’s strategic development plans include the development of internationality, competitiveness in scientific discoveries and many other areas.

A decade of growth: steps towards leadership

In September 2015, a modern laboratory building was built in Kaunas Clinics of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Hospital and the infrastructure of clinical laboratory research was renewed.   

In July 2016, the LSMU Main Building was solemnly re-opened after its reconstruction. During the reconstruction works, the walls of the Main Building were restored, the authentic colours and décor were renewed, and other accents and details emphasising the uniqueness of this building were preserved and refreshed.   

On 28 October 2016, LSMU Faculty of Nursing became a WHO collaborating centre.  

In April 2018 LSMU became the innovation coordinator of the Health Platform of the European Institute of Innovation in Lithuania.  

On 31 May 2018, LSMU has signed a cooperation agreement with the US corporation CERNER, the world’s largest information technology (IT) company specialising in healthcare.   

In May 2019, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Hospital Kaunas Clinics joined the association Santaka Valley.  

In May 2019, The European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE) accredited the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU), as the only veterinary training centre in Lithuania. EAEVE accreditation is the evaluation of the highest level of veterinary medicine studies, which certifies that the studies meet the standards of the European System of Evaluation of Veterinary Training (ESEVT), which ensures the high quality of these studies. 

On 3 June 2019 the first gamma knife centre in the Baltic States was opened at the Clinic of Neurosurgery of  Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Hospital Kaunas Clinics – a highly accurate system for non-invasive stereotactic radiosurgical treatment of oncological diseases, vascular pathologies and functional diseases that minimises the risk of complications. The 100th new generation gamma knife in the world was installed at Kaunas clinics.

From 30 March 2020 due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, for the first time in the history of LSMU, distance learning of all degree programmes was begun.  

After the merger of Kaunas Clinical and Republican Kaunas Hospitals on 8 September 2020, the new LSMU Kaunas Hospital began its operation. The facilities were merged to improve the quality of treatment and ensure that patients receive the services they need in a timely manner.  

On 18 September 2020, when commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU), all important science, studies, clinical and veterinary activities projects have been solemnly marked. With the symbolic Groundbreaking Ceremonies for the construction of the largest Animal Clinic in Lithuania and a modern Nuclear Research Centre, a creation of the infrastructure of the Science and Study Base for the Faculty  of Odontology, and the completion of the modern Faculty of Nursing. The Center for Preschool and Primary Education – the Primary School Branch of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Gymnasium –  “Lašeliai” of Kaunas Clinics – also opened its doors.