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In Cluj-Napoca, higher education has been established since 1581.
Academic life has evolved gradually, including different fields and specialties. Among these, medicine has played an essential part, ever since 1775, when the "Medical and Surgical School" has been founded. The renowned ophthalmologist Ioan Piuariu-Molnar was a distinctive figure among its teaching staff. In 1816, the Medical and Surgical School became known as the "Medical and Surgical High school".
The Hungarian Faculty of Medicine has been founded in 1872, a part of the recently established University "Ferencz Jozsef" of Cluj. Many Hospitals and Medical Institutes have opened their doors between 1888 and 1901, built along the street Mikó, nowadays known as the Clinics' Street. Among the distinguished professors of this faculty, Zsigmond Purjesz, Miklos Jancso, Károly Lechner, Tamás Marschalko, Jozsef Brandt, Istvan Apáthy, György Hintz, and Zsigmond Jakabházy have paid important contributions to the development of their medical specialty.
Soon after the Great Union of Transylvania with Romania, medical and pharmaceutical education has witnessed a major transformation. In 1919, the Romanian Faculty of Medicine has been founded, as part of the University of "Upper Dacia". Its first dean was Professor Iuliu Haţieganu, later appointed "Magnificus Rector" of the university. He distinguished himself by many remarkable initiatives, such as the establishment of new specialties, among which medical semiology, radiology, stomatology and history of medicine were for the first time included in the Romanian medical curriculum. Many famous Romanian (Victor Babeş, Constantin Levaditi, Ştefan Gh. Nicolau, Nicolae Minovici) and French (Jules Guiart, René Jeannel) professors contributed to the prestige of the Faculty of Medicine. Among the Faculty's first generation of renowned professors, Iuliu Moldovan, Victor Papilian, Titu Vasiliu, Ioan Drăgoiu, Dimitrie Negru, Iacob Iacobovici, Constantin Ureche, Ion Minea, Cristea Grigoriu, Dumitru Michail, Coriolan Tătaru, Titu Gane, Ion Predescu-Rion and many others have played essential roles in their areas of expertise. By the same time, Professor Gheorghe Bilaşcu founded at Cluj the first Romanian discipline of Stomatology.
Between 1919 and 1934 the Faculty of Medicine included an important department of Pharmacology, founded and and chaired by Professor Gheorghe Pamfil. Some leading scientists from the Faculty of Science have also contributed to medical research programs. Among them, professors Emil Racoviţă, Alexandru Borza, Ion Grinţescu, Adriano Ostrogovich, Gheorghe Spacu and Gheorghe Dima were the most prominent figures.
The second interwar decade and the years of Faculty refuge at Sibiu (1940-1945), have witnessed the successful achievements of professors Ioan Goia, Leon Daniello, Ion Gavrilă, Marius Sturza (founder of the first Romanian Balneology discipline), Emil Ţeposu, Alexandru Pop, Ioan Aleman, Valeriu Bologa, Grigore Benetato, Ion Manta, Constantin Velluda and many others. The "Palace of University Hospitals" was inaugurated in 1938.
A turning point in medical and pharmaceutical education was reached in 1948, when it became an independent Medico-Pharmaceutical Institute, organised into five different faculties: General Medicine, Paediatrics, Stomatology, Pharmacy and Hygiene – the latter being active only during a single decade.
The Faculty of Medicine has established its solid reputation, based on the pioneering work of the famous professors Octavian Fodor, Aurel Moga, Ion Chiricuţă, Aurel Nana, Rodica Dascălu, Ion Baciu, Ion Albu, Victor Preda, Gheorghe Badenski, Rubin Popa and Gheorghe Badea. The Faculty of Paediatrics took great pride in the contribution of its remarkable professors: Axente Iancu, Iuliana Ţârlea, Aurel Chişu, Eugenia Mihalca, while illustrious Stomatology Professors were represented by Vasile Vasilescu, Cornel Opriş and Iosif Baba. At the same time, the first dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy was Professor Erwin Popper. Other important medical personalities were: Teodor Goina, Vigil Galea, Ioan Simiti and Victor Ciocănelea.
Since 1990, Medical and Pharmaceutical education at Cluj-Napoca evolved at a rapid pace. The same year, the Medico-Pharmaceutical Institute has changed its name into the "University of Medicine and Pharmacy". The iconic figure of Iuliu Haţieganu has been added to the university's name in 1992.
Conf. Dr. Cristian Bârsu
History of Medicine