University of Bern: New European master’s degree program on stroke

More than 80 million people worldwide live with the consequences of stroke; more than 13 million new cases occur each year. Stroke is not only one of the leading causes of death, but also a cause of dementia, adult disability, and the most common type of life-threatening neurological disease. One in four affected individuals remains disabled and can no longer lead an independent life. In addition to the individual, personal blow, a stroke also causes immense health care costs.

Demand for stroke specialists is steadily increasing
The provision of highly qualified specialists in the field of stroke medicine is of correspondingly high medical and social relevance. “The need for physicians with theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the areas of prevention, acute treatment, rehabilitation, and post-stroke care is constantly growing,” explains Prof. Claudio Bassetti, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Bern and Director and Chief Physician of the Department of Neurology at Inselspital. “I am very pleased that, after the launch of the MAS in Sleep, Consciousness, and Related Disorders three years ago, it has also now been possible to create an MAS for the area of stroke.”

Continuing education unique in Europe
When the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) was looking for a new hosting partner for the renowned course, which is unique in Europe, the Stroke Center of Inselspital, the largest brain stroke center in Switzerland, and the University of Bern, seized the opportunity. Previously, the course was offered in a slightly different form by Danube University Krems (Austria). In a competitive process, the application from Bern was able to prevail. “We are proud to bring the European Stroke Master’s program to Bern and to further develop it here,” says Prof. Simon Jung, Chief Physician at the Bern Stroke Center. This is a targeted expansion of postgraduate stroke training for Swiss and foreign physicians, which has always been a focus of the Stroke Center and the Medical Faculty of the University of Bern.

Reducing stroke-related morbidity and mortality worldwide
The newly designed MAS Stroke Medicine in Bern is aimed at physicians, researchers, and other health professionals. It covers the entire spectrum of stroke care and stroke research. Nine modules in five semesters combine classroom teaching at the Faculty of Medicine, intensive on-site learning courses, and hands-on training at the Stroke Center of Inselspital with distance and e-learning elements as well as internships at established stroke centers throughout Europe. The participants also create a “Stroke Literature and News Wiki”, which is made available to the worldwide stroke community via the Stroke Guideline App. Research also makes an important contribution here: “The Bern Stroke Center leads numerous national and international multicenter studies and will also introduce the students to clinical and translational stroke research,” explains Prof. Marcel Arnold, Head Research Board of the Department of Neurology at Inselspital.

Prof. Urs Fischer, co-director of the course, also emphasizes the global perspective of the course: “This continuing education program’s goal is to reduce stroke-related morbidity and mortality worldwide.” The incidence and treatment of stroke vary widely globally. In particular, people living in resource-poor countries are disproportionately affected. The program is therefore offered not only to meet the demands of increased stroke incidence across Europe, but also to improve the standard of care and knowledge of stroke diagnosis and treatment worldwide.

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