The Institute of Social Medicine (Instituto de Medicina Social, IMS) at Rio de Janeiro State University (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, UERJ) was set up in the late 1960s by a group of professors from the Faculty of Medical Sciences (Faculdade de Ciências Médicas), who perceived the need to pursue and systematise certain thinking on health issues. Since its founding, the IMS has been characterised by its interdisciplinary approach, critical spirit, commitment to Brazilian social realities and respect for the free discussion of ideas. With that underlying conception, it has centred its goals in postgraduate education and research into population health and related areas.
Our postgraduate programme, introduced in 1974 with the title of Social Medicine (renamed Collective Health in 1987), is organised into three areas of concentration: Human Sciences and Health; Epidemiology; and Health Policy, Planning and Administration. In 1986, the Centre for Studies and Research in Collective Health – today the Centre for Studies, Research and Technological Development in Collective Health (Centro de Estudos, Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico em Saúde Coletiva, CEPESC) – was set up for the purpose of bringing scientific knowledge production to broader publics and fostering cooperation between the IMS and other institutions.
The Doctorate in Collective Health, which was introduced in 1991, offers a flexible curriculum that privileges the relationship between advisor and advisee. From 2000 on, in partnership with either the Ministry of Health or other health institutions, Professional Masters courses in Health Administration have been offered in three specific areas: Health Technology Management, Health Systems Management and Epidemiology and Health Surveillance.
Since the 1970s, a number of specialisation courses have been offered for professionals working or interested in Hospital Administration, Workplace Medicine, Teaching and Health, Gender and Sexuality and Health Management.
Our postgraduate programme has contributed to forming personnel qualified for teaching, research and service provision, as well as to setting new directions for the sector through its professors’ production and innovative research – which combine Psychoanalysis, History of Medicine, Culture, Epidemiology, Planning and Social Policy. The wide thematic diversity of research conducted at the IMS has always valued an interdisciplinary approach to contemporary problems, such as reproductive rights, social and environmental determinants of health and disease, violences and their effects, emerging and neglected diseases, aging, medicalisation, psychiatric reform, global health, social and subjective impacts of new diagnoses and health technologies, comprehensive care, evaluation of the medico-industrial complex, complex modelling to understand processes of health and disease, the use of large data bases in health and so on.
The numerous students who have graduated from the IMS in the course of its existence have been reproducing the learning they acquired here in other places, enabling other courses to be set up in a number of institutions around Brazil. In 2012, we were awarded the top score (7) in assessment by Brazil’s Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, CAPES), indicating that, as evaluated by our peers, we are growing with quality. We currently have 60 research groups distributed across 18 lines of ongoing research. In addition, 40 partnerships with institutions in other countries have strengthened the international nature of our work.
O IMS e os desafios de hoje by Gulnar Azevedo e Rossano Cabral