VALENTĪNA GORDJUŠINA, ĒRIKA LŪSE and ZANE ZALUŽINSKA
University of Latvia, Faculty of Medicine, Riga (Latvia)
Historical Review of the Development of Pathology at the University of Latvia’s Medical Faculty
Several bright personalities mark the centenary of the history of pathology at the University of Latvia. One of the most vivid personalities in pathology and in Latvia’s medical history is the Baltic German Roman August Adelheim (1881–1938). In 1919, when the University of Latvia was founded, R. Adelheim was entrusted by the Faculty of Medicine with the task of establishing the Department of Pathological Anatomy. This marked the beginning of the development of pathological anatomy as a pedagogical discipline and science in Latvia. Adelheim’s scientific heritage is 94 publications in Latvian, German, English, Russian and Estonian medical journals. The Museum of Human Pathology which he helped found is still open to benefit students and other interested parties.
Following the sudden and premature death of Adelheim in 1938, his former student Max Brant, whose studies focused mainly on cancer pathology, took over the chairmanship of the Department of Pathological Anatomy. While working at the University of Latvia, Brant actively recruited young students who were enthusiastic about pathology into extracurricular activities at the museum.
The next chairman was Janis Alfreds Kaktins (1892–1955), who was also a former student of Adelheim. Kaktins studied the pathogenesis of fungal diseases of the skin and the pathology of acne vulgaris, as well as conducted studies about anaphylactic shock.
In 1997, the Faculty of Medicine was revived at the University of Latvia, and in 2001 the Latvian University Museum of Human Pathology officially resumed its activities. It participates in the European Night of Museums and Science Nights. Young medical students, who are particularly interested in pathology, are actively involved in the life of the museum. The museum also participates in the Latvian University School of Young Medics program, which tries to introduce school children to the study of medicine. Courses in pathology at the medical faculty use the museum’s pathological-anatomical collections as visual study material.
One hundred years have passed since Professor R. Adelheim established the Department of Pathology and the Museum of Pathology. His heritage is still part of our everyday life and the importance of the Latvian University Museum of Human Pathology is continuing to increase.