Official Opening Ceremony of the new Anatomy Theatre
As stated in the invitation, the long-awaited renovation of the Institute of Anatomy of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon (FMUL) was finally completed thanks to the efforts of the Rector’s Office of the University of Lisbon (UL) and the Board of FMUL.
On 12 June 2013, at 15:00, the official opening ceremony of the new Anatomy Theatre, named Professor Armando dos Santos Ferreira, was held at the Institute of Anatomy of FMUL.
This is a fair tribute to the holder of the highest office of the Board of the Institute of anatomy, who led the institute, in his centennial history (1964-1991), for the longest period in time, shaping its clinical vocation in teaching and science.
Inspired by the article “The Institute of Anatomy in the Centenary of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon”, published in Acta Médica Portuguesa 2011; 24(4): 663-670, we have chosen a small snippet that we find very important with regard to Professor Armando dos Santos Ferreira: «Following the retirement of Barbosa Sueiro, on 20 July 1964 Armando dos Santos Ferreira was appointed Director of the Institute of Anatomy.
Armando Ferreira came from the Civil Hospitals of Lisbon and was invited to be an Anatomy Assistant Lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon by Victor Fontes, who knew about his great teaching ability and cadaver dissection. He became Full Professor in Anatomy in 1967, in a tender where he came first, ahead of other distinguished professors of the Institute of Anatomy, such as Portela Gomes, Vasco Bruto da Costa and Carlos Jordão Pereira.
As Director of the Institute of Anatomy, Armando Ferreira invited José Caria Mendes, a general surgeon and first assistant in Anatomy, to be his close assistant.
The country was experiencing important times that had a natural repercussion in medical education, particularly due to the contribution of the Institute of Anatomy in the training of a growing number of physicians needed for the Armed Forces involved in the colonial war.
Increased accessibility to the medical degree meant that in 1973, the Institute of Anatomy of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon reached the historical high number of 3500 students and had a marked shortage of teaching materials – including cadavers. In addition, the facilities became insufficient and very poor in educational terms. There was the need to equip the Institute of Anatomy with resources suitable for modern research.
It was vital to acquire the means to maintain and modernize the library and to continue the international prestige attained by the Anatomy and Anthropology Archives.
It became equally necessary to expand and qualify the technical staff suitable for an updated Teaching and Medical Research Institute, and provide the Institute with an adequate lecturer/student ratio.
The Institute was reaching breaking point and it was necessary to act quickly and effectively!», end of quote.
The old Anatomy Theatre of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon finally underwent the profound repair work it needed in order to fulfil its mission again and give current students the quality education that characterizes our Faculty. The expectation is that this area also becomes a functional museum, enabling the return of many catalogued pieces that have been in storage due to the lack of conditions before the renovation work.
Soon the new equipment will be bustling with activity again, following very specialized and complex works that are matched only in forensic institutes, which include the installation of very specific equipment, including an air conditioning system tailored to the unique technical needs of the area.
At the recently opened new anatomy theatre, visitors attending the official opening ceremony were able to see in a visibly renovated space the new autopsy tables, the freezers for storing cadaverous materials, the room for preparing the anatomical parts, and a new lighting system, among many other new features.
The actual ceremony was a success, judging by the number of participants and the flawless organization. The visit to the new facilities and the cocktail that followed were preceded by speeches, of which those given by Professor António José Gonçalves Ferreira, Director of the Institute of Anatomy, Professor José Fernandes e Fernandes, Director of FMUL, Professor António Sampaio da Nóvoa, Rector of the University of the Lisbon and by Ms. Alice Horta (BSc.), daughter of the honouree, figured prominently.
Susana Henriques and Miguel Andrade
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