Tribute to Professor Barbas, Head of the FMUL Nephrology University Clinic
A tribute to Professor Barbas was held on June 20 in the Grand Auditorium of the FMUL on the occasion of his retirement. This session was unique in that it was honoured with the presence of all the professors responsible for the discipline of Nephrology in the several medical schools in Portugal: Professor Pestana (Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto), Professor Alves (Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra), Professor Nolasco (Faculty of Health Sciences of Nova University of Lisbon). Professor Victorino, President of the FMUL Scientific Council, opened the session and highlighted how this tribute was proof of how the Faculty holds Professor Barbas in high standing due to his lifelong dedication to the teaching of Nephrology in the FMUL.
Gomes da Costa, M.D. with the CHLN-HSM Nephrology Department, a fellow colleague of Professor Barbas during their medical internship, paid a heartfelt tribute to the late team members and recalled the hardships of their first years as interns while emphasising that they were considered the first specialist team in Nephrology in the country; he also stressed that Professor Barbas showed at all times his great interest, excelling in all exams and achieving the highest marks.
Professor Almeida then addressed the audience and praised Professor Barbas for having greatly influenced a whole generation of physicians and specialists in Nephrology. To his mind, the best tribute would be a reflection on the teaching of Nephrology in medical schools. His address on “A new paradigm for the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) - challenges for pre-graduate teaching in Nephrology” pointed out that CKD is currently a pathology on the increase, affecting approximately 6.1% of the Portuguese population. His presentation further highlighted the fact that it is the duty of medical schools to draw attention to this area since Portugal is one of the countries with the highest incidence of patients undergoing dialysis, a financial burden to the Portuguese National Health Service given the high cost of Hemodialysis treatment. For these reasons, Professor Almeida further stated that the discipline of Nephrology should not - and cannot - be regarded as an optional discipline.
In his presentation on “A new paradigm for the Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) – challenges for post-graduate teaching of Nephrology”, Professor Lopes spoke about AKI, describing it as a lethal pathology, the incidence of which has increased considerably, thus further proving that this is a vital area in medical teaching. Medical students have shown a growing interest in this disease which is manifested by their submission of master theses in this field, thereby reinforcing ok the relevance of this pathology for the world of today.
The session then moved on to a new topic, “Teaching Nephrology to undergraduates in Portuguese medical schools”, which was addressed by all the professors involved in the discipline of Nephrology in the several medical schools in Portugal. Professor Pestana, who gave an overview of the teaching of Nephrology in the Faculty of Medicine of Porto, emphasised that “the University ought to acknowledge the merit and the legacy of their teaching staff” and as such “this tribute to Professor Barbas is to be commended.”
Professor Alves mentioned that the syllabus of the discipline of Nephrology of the Faculty of Medicine of Coimbra is currently being restructured with a view to encouraging an in-depth study of Nephrology by medical students.
Professor Nolasco’s address focused on the way the discipline of Nephrology is structured in the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the Nova University of Lisbon, stressing that medical students should be encouraged to pursue research in this area.
Professor Barbas gave an overview of the discipline of Nephrology as taught at the FMUL, the staff of which includes three PhD holders and all the CHLN-HSM interns and residents and, since 2012, the interns and residents of Hospital Beatriz Ângelo. Teaching focuses on Nephrology of General Medicine and Public Health based on an in-depth, accurate study of physiopathology. Classes are both theoretical and theoretical-practical and students are taught theoretical content while being encouraged to actively participate in all class activities. Nephrology at the FMUL is a one-or-two-week optional course unit held twice a year, four hours per day. In the Integrated Master’s Degree in Medicine this course unit belongs to the Physiology area, comprehended in the Module of Medicine II and in the optional course unit “Diseases of the Urinary System”.
The FMUL tributee Professor Barbas ended his address with a thank-you note. He mentioned that he was leaving the Faculty “protected and supported by all his friends and the memories they have of me and I have of them”. Professor Barbas received a standing ovation at the end of his address.
Professor Martins Prata brought the session to a close by expressing gratitude for the tribute paid to Professor Barbas and extended his best wishes for the future.