More And Better
Historical journey of the evolution of the ENT Clinic
The University Clinic of Otorhinolaryngology celebrated its 100th birthday last year. In the context of this centenary celebration, Óscar Dias, Full Professor at FMUL and Coordinator of the Chair of ENT, launched a pioneering challenge for his students to learn Otorhinolaryngology through the history of the speciality. Thus, each student was assigned a topic to research and develop with the purpose of jointly creating a book included in the Pedagogical Project History and Evolution of ENT.
The Chair of ENT has a precious collection of documents, books, audiovisual material, and old instruments that have been gathered by the successive Professors of the University Clinic, further enriched by gifts from families of several generations of ENT specialists.
It was in the academic year of 2015-2016 that a collaboration with the Museum of the University of Lisbon and the Library of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon began, aiming to give life to the existing heritage of the Chair of ENT. "At that time we realised that we had an enormous archive closed whose loss would be irreparable".
That was the moment in which the Professor decided to contact the Museum of the University of Lisbon in order to find out how to "arrange" such vast and precious information. Prof. Marta Lourenço (Curator of the MUNHAC) warmly welcomed the idea and provided the Museum's own database. It started with the cataloguing of each of the documents and pieces according to the international standards of museums, and each item of the collection was photographed in high definition. The work gave rise to the creation of 6 catalogues that translate the evolution across the 100 years. "This is the heritage of the professors"
After everything was systematically catalogued, Professor Óscar Dias thought that nobody would take notice of this research if it were undisclosed. His exhaustive survey would then lose its impact, which was when he decided to involve his students. "I challenged them to make a survey of the ENT History from all over the world. We started by making an index and the project was growing and growing... We started in 2000/3000 BC and we have reached the present day, telling the whole story. I divided all of the topics and assigned a topic to each student. Hence a book was born".
It took two years to compile all the information.
For now there is a dossier with about 1200 pages that awaits to become a great Study Guide, or a digital guide. "It tells the story of each of the ENT instruments, but also the history of surgical operations, key concepts, key personalities and Nobel Prizes. However, I then looked at this whole documented work, and thought that this had to have a different exposure and asked that the students recreate their essays in PowerPoint presentations.”.
We already had the Manual, the PowerPoint and we thought about creating similar guides to those that we get at any museum. Thus, "we made museum guides of the ear, of the larynx, and so forth. These publications are very easy to read and recount the main events in the evolution of the concepts and the medical ingenuity in each of the fields.
Prof. Marta Lourenço (Curator of the MUNHAC), in recognition of the work done, signalled the existence of this museological collection of ENT in the official documents of the University which recorded it in the last edition of the Heritage of the University book.
In order to give more depth to the project, I challenged students to do Master's works on the History of ENT and suddenly a vast area emerges, where students and teachers contribute to give "thickness" to knowledge, everyone learns a lot from History. When we look at it on a macro scale we realise that there are half a dozen major inventions. Other factors of progress and evolution are adaptations of ideas from the past to the technologies of today. All of us can cultivate progress and improvement on a day-to-day basis. This is what I aim to pass on to the students to stimulate them in their future professional lives. Another great lesson from the project is that we all have to continue learning because what we learn now may be outdated in a short period of time.
From the outset, the project has had the support of the Department of Medical Education and the Student Association of the Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon. The students loved getting to know more facts about History and not only learned, but also created beautiful works and comments on their findings".
The professor promised the students that he would take their work to the Museum of the University of Lisbon, because "after all they are the owners of this project". With the help of the University's E- Learning Lab a multimedia station was created, compiling PowerPoint presentations that tell the history of ENT, the students' Manual of History and Evolution, the Guides of the future virtual museum, the works of the Integrated Master's Degree and the Catalogues of the Museological Collection of ENT. The new technologies allowed managing and presenting all this information in an accessible and simple way, without costs.
The two days of exhibition in the Medicine Gallery at the Museum of the University served to gather and present ideas to pave the way for new horizons and new sponsors. Edigma (a touch-screen company) lent a plasma screen, and IBM came with a large team to learn about the project and talk with Professor Óscar Dias about the next steps to take.
Considering it as an innovative project, IBM Portugal awarded a grant in 2017, creating a roadmap grant and providing consultancy for the construction of the project.
Óscar Dias studied Medicine at the Faculty of the University of Lisbon and at 18 he was already Anatomy monitor. For 44 years he has been a key member of the institution. He was once responsible for the Library and the rare books at the Institute of Anatomy, and promises that now there is another rare book, the Manual of History and Evolution of ENT, rare because until now, no similar work had been created.
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