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RSU history
Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation studies at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) date back 70 years, when RSU was called the Rīga Medical Institute (RMI).

RSUM_pielikums_pie_diploma_fragments-lead.gifTo illustrate (from the right): an excerpt from the grade book of alumnus Modris Melzobs (later a professor at RMI) that was attached to a diploma issued in 1953. It states that the student Modris Melzobs has passed the Faculty Therapy, Tuberculosis and General Physical Therapy exam with distinction. The course was conducted at the Department of Faculty Therapy by legendary Assistant Professor Kārlis Mazurs (1899-1995; a physical therapist and radiographist, who finished his medical studies during the period of Latvia’s first independence; a contemporary of Prof. Aleksandrs Bieziņš). In 1981, this task was continued by Assistant, later Assistant Professor, Ints Zeidlers from the Faculty of Rehabilitation.

Already in 1950, the Health Centre for Physical Education of the Republic was founded in Riga. It became the leading institution for organisational and methodological work in sports medicine and therapeutic gymnastics. Two physicians who later played an important role in creating the RSU Faculty of Rehabilitation worked there – Assistant Professor Zinaida Kasvande and Associate Professor Viktorija Linaberga. They both defended their doctoral theses in the 1970s and 1980s and conducted a control course in Therapeutic Physical Education and Medicine at RMI Department of Hospital Therapy. This course together with the Faculty Therapy, Tuberculosis and General Physical Therapy course became the basis for the Department of Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine and Physical Medicine at the Medical Academy of Latvia (MAL) as RMI was called from 1990. Certification of physicians of physical rehabilitation started in 1991.

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The first Department of Hospital Therapy at RMI in 1975. Back row, left to right: Viktorija Linaberga and Zinaida Kasvande. Photo from the archive of the RSU Museum.

Rehabilitation education continued to develop in the first half of the 1990s, until the Faculty of Rehabilitation was founded in 1994. The Decree No. 07/03 (25 January 1994) of the MAL states: ‘On the grounds of the decision of the MAL Senate, I hereby order that [3] the Faculty of Rehabilitation is established on 1 February 1994 on the basis of the Department of Public Health and Rehabilitation of the Faculty of Medicine.’

‘Changes in public opinion and the requirements for medical services, their quality and the attitude of medical professionals, as well as rapid development of social services, lead to the creation of the new Faculty of Rehabilitation at MAL,’ said Professor Aivars Vētra in the 1990s describing the situation in rehabilitation education in Latvia (Vētra A. 1995. On the Faculty of Rehabilitation. Pulss. 10., 11., 12.(710–712)).