Master of Science in Cerebrovascular Medicine

Please note: We are no longer recruiting any students for this program!

Background

The continuing education program Cerebrovascular Medicine (CVM) was launched in 2008/2009 within the framework of the Center for Stroke Research Berlin (CSB) at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Our aim was to strengthen the research skills of assistant doctors who are primarily clinically active and promote career development at the intersection of research and medical care. In terms of content, the study program focuses on stroke research and clinical studies in that field. The blended learning concept makes it possible for the program to be completed at any location, concurrent to professional employment. The first five years of the study program (equipment and personnel) were financed through third-party funds (IFB-BMBF). The program has supported itself since 2013 through tuition fees.

Achievements

the Charité. Six were medical doctors, one a nutritional scientist. Three were female, four male. All of them successfully completed the study program, have a respectable list of publications, and are now pursuing work at the intended junction of research and clinical care. This student profile has remained consistent over the years, augmented by the growing proportion of international participants which has now reached 75%.
The teaching concept has been continually improved through periodic evaluations. In 2013, the study program received accreditation. One survey of graduates attests to a high level of satisfaction with the program. In addition to the course content, respondents emphasized the value of the international networking the program offers.
The concept also impressed Sanofi and Pfizer who have supported the study program with generous donations.

Challenges

Thematically the study program occupies a niche. Moreover, for participants the program is time consuming, and they have to shoulder considerable financial expenditure. Despite extensive marketing activity, the number of students remains consistently low for these reasons. Then there is the workload for the instructors: compiling teaching material, holding seminars, marking exams, and, especially, supervising Master’s theses. When weighing up effort versus benefit, the balance tilts towards a negative outcome.

Implications/Future Developments

At the same time, the requirement and necessity of furthering research-oriented medical doctors in their career development still retain their importance, even beyond the funding period of CSB by the BMBF. The Clinician Scientist Program of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) provides the Charité with a cross-disciplinary tool, equipped with fellowship funding for participants to focus exclusively on research, which supports this career path. We have had some overlap in personnel in the past, namely students in the program were also being supported as young researches at BIH. We will continue to make use of this synergy in the future. The study program itself will likely be discontinued. However plans are in place for established content, such as teaching modules and especially e-learning material, to be adopted by the Clinician Scientist training program and further developed by the BIH Academy. Therefore the elements of the study program will be embedded in a sustainable overall design.

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