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​In Strategic Partnership with Pitt, Nazarbayev University Inducts Inaugural Med School Class

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 17, 2015 – In strategic partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, the Republic of Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University has established a School of Medicine (NUSOM) that welcomed its first class of students on Aug. 17 with a Pitt adjunct professor of pathology as its founding dean.
 
Massimo Pignatelli, MD, PhD, a distinguished pathologist and biomedical scientist whose research focuses on cellular adhesion molecules, previously served as head of the School of Medicine at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
 
“My hope is that NUSOM will become a model for every medical school in Kazakhstan,” said Dr. Pignatelli. “The goal of the project is to create the hub of medical education and biomedical research in Central Asia. We have all the necessary components, including infrastructure, resources and political stability.”
 
“We are privileged to be Nazarbayev University’s academic partner in this impressive achievement,” said Patrick Gallagher, PhD, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. “We, too, are celebrating this very important day for the students and the future that they represent.”
 
“NUSOM marks a historic milestone, with the induction of its first class of medical students,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine. “This ambitious project will change the educational landscape of Kazakhstan.”
 
In 2013, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine was selected to guide Nazarbayev University as it establishes its own medical school, which aims to educate physician-scientists to become Kazakhstan’s next leaders in health care, medical education and biomedical research.
 
“Opening the School of Medicine is another important step Nazarbayev University is taking in order to achieve one of its strategic goals, namely the establishment of an integrated healthcare system that will pull together teaching, research and clinical services, and thus will provide a new model for healthcare services in Kazakhstan,” said Nazarbayev University President Shigeo Katsu.
 
The university has six other specialized schools; its School of Medicine will work in close collaboration with three university research centers and six hospitals of National Medical Holding, also part of Nazarbayev University. Together they will form the Nazarbayev University Integrated Health Care System in Astana.
 
The 20 students in NUSOM’s inaugural class, most of whom completed their undergraduate degrees at Nazarbayev University, will be taught in English by faculty recruited from Kazakhstan and globally. In coming years, Pitt-style research training will become part of the four-year NUSOM MD program.
 
Pitt experts are helping the new medical school institute a U.S.-style curriculum; design and develop teaching facilities; plan organizational and administrative structures, policies and procedures; and develop courses, syllabi and clinical experiences with the participation of physician-educators from hospitals in Kazakhstan.
 
Similarly, UPMC, Pitt’s clinical partner and one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, announced in 2012 that it was selected by Nazarbayev University to assist its development of a national oncology treatment and research center.

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