Medical Research Institutes

Medical Research Institutes


in the USSR, establishments conducting research in medicine.

A network of research institutes developed in the USSR as a result of the formation and growth of the state socialist public health system. Medical research institutes are arbitrarily divided into three groups: clinical institutes, institutes of hygiene, and institutes emphasizing problems in medical theory. Clinical institutes treat patients and conduct research in internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology. Institutes of hygiene conduct research on general and communal hygiene, industrial hygiene, nutrition, and pediatric and adolescent hygiene. Institutes concerned with theory work on problems of pathophysiology, morphology, virology, immunology, and medical genetics. (This classification is arbitary, since theoretical work is also done in clinical institutes, and institutes concerned with theory or hygiene also have clinical departments.)

Research institutes are becoming more narrowly specialized, paralleling the increasing differentiation of the branches of medicine. (For example, institutes of cardiology and gastroenterology have been established.) Despite the trend toward specialization, integration of research is emphasized. Thus, the study of problems in anesthesiology and resuscitation presupposes the combined efforts of surgeons, internists, pathophysiologists, biochemists, and engineers. Endoscopy, ultrasonic section, and the “welding” of bones in traumatology and orthopedics, as well as new methods of X-ray and radiodiagnosis and radiotherapy require combined research in medical institutes and several types of industrial research institutes.

A network of medical research institutes specializing in one field (including subdepartments of higher institutions of medical education) receives guidance in methodology from the country’s top research institute in that field (an all-Union or central institute). These top institutes, which are also the largest in their fields, are subordinated to the chief sectorial administrations, the Scientific Medical Council of the Ministry of Public Health of the USSR, and the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR.

The Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR has seven research institutes of hygiene, microbiology, and epidemiology, 13 clinical institutes, nine biomedical institutes, and four independent laboratories. Research is also conducted at 81 higher institutions of medical education and 13 institutes for the advanced training of physicians.

Many of the medical research institutes are located in the Union republics, where they are subordinated to the republic ministries of public health. A number of institutes in the Union republics are administered by the republic academies of science.

The principal structural subdivision of the medical research institute is the laboratory or the clinical department. The standard department or laboratory consists of a director and two or three senior scientists; four to six junior scientists; assistants and technicians; and, in clinical departments, resident physicians, nurses, and attendants. Clinical medical research institutes may be found at large hospitals, where the directors of the clinical departments of the research institutes are responsible for research, consultation, and therapeutic matters.

As of 1974, there were 307 scientific establishments, including institutes and laboratories, under the Ministry of Public Health of the USSR. Of these, 262 were research institutes, including eight institutes of internal medicine, 36 surgical institutes, and 18 oncological, radiological, and roentgenological institutes. Also among the 262 research institutes were 21 maternity and pediatrics institutes, 11 institutes of dermatology and venereology, and 19 antituberculosis, eight ophthalmological, three otorhinolaryngological, and ten psychoneurological institutes. In addition, there were 15 institutes of health resort medicine and physical therapy and 97 institutes of sanitation and epidemiology.

Of the 97 institutes of sanitation and epidemiology, 29 dealt with hygiene; eight with microbiology and epidemiology; 12 with microbiology, epidemiology, and hygiene; three with vaccines and serums; 17 with antibiotics; and seven with other aspects of medical science. In addition, there were 16 biomedical research institutes not covered in the categories mentioned.


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