The School of Dental Medicine, University of Zagreb, is the only autonomous higher education institution in the Republic of Croatia to provide programs for doctors of dental medicine.
The history of the School of Dental Medicine, within the aegis of the University of Zagreb, involves three phases of development:
- The initial period as the higher education institution, from 1922 to 1948;
- Founding and enacting of the Department of Odontology at the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, from 1948 to 1962;
- Founding and thriving of the School of Dental Medicine from 1962, throughout more than five decades.
Dr. Eduard Radošević (1884-1938) is considered to be the initiator of modern dentistry in Croatia. After his studies in Vienna, he shifted to Berlin for his medical specialization. At the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, he founded the Department of Odontology in the 1922, wherein he acted as educator. In 1933, a Dental Ambulatory was established within the Otorhinolaryngology Clinic of the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, only to become a department the following year. The Department of Dentistry then became the Dental Clinic in 1935, its head being Professor Eduard Radošević, alongside two other assistants, still within the Otorhinolaryngology Clinic. Subsequently, the Dental Clinic became independent in 1939, and developed into the Department of Odontology at the School of Medicine.
Relationship between odontology and general medicine, explication of the concept of dentistry, scopes of dental surgery and mandible and face surgery, organization of activities, and system of education, all those questions are in the very core of the new Department of Odontology at the School of Medicine in Zagreb. The ideas of Professor Ivo Čupar, Ph.D were fashioned in that very manner, and served as a basis for founding the Department of Odontology in the academic year of 1948/49. That academic year there were 47 freshmen of the dentistry studies, the first to enroll in Croatia. A 40% of the total study curriculum was dedicated to professional study courses for dentists, while study courses in the field of general medical formed the remaining 60%.
In the year 1951, following the initiative of the Council for Higher medical education, the Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Croatia issued the Order on the organization of the Department of Odontology in relation to the School of Medicine in Zagreb. In the year 1957, the Department of Odontology grew into the Dentistry Section of the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, while the graduates thereinafter acquired the title of doctor medicinae stomatologicae. Organizational changes took place during 1958 and 1959. The renovated building in Gundulićeva 5 became home to five departments: Department of Dental Surgery, Department of Dental Prosthetics, Department of Dental Pathology, Department of Mandible and Teeth Regulation, and Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry. In the academic year 1960/1961, the first Vice Dean was appointed to oversee the studies; it was Professor Miroslav Suvin, Ph.D.
The breakthrough came in the academic year 1962/1963. The dental studies finally grew out of the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb. Following the decree of the Croatian Parliament of the 26th of September 1962, the independent School of Dentistry was founded within the University of Zagreb.
With the progress of all biomedical research areas, dental medicine developed into a professional discipline on its own right, consequently leading to formation of independent dentistry schools of higher education in Europe and America. Within the frame of those tendencies, and thanks to the efforts of our leading experts, the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia appointed the independent School of Dental Medicine, University of Zagreb, in 1962. Professor Živko Bolf, Ph.D, was elected to be its very first Dean. Herewith some important requirements were met which enabled further educational, scientific and professional advancement. During the decades that followed, to this very day, the curriculum has been keeping pace with the modern developments, and fresh educational content has been consistently introduced.
Within the School of Dental Medicine, a total of eight institutes were established. In the year 1971 it was decided that the General Hospital “Dr. Mladen Stojanović” (today the Clinical Hospital “Sestre milosrdnice”) was to become a clinical teaching base for the students of dental medicine, whereby the issue of clinical medical courses was solved. As of 1995, the Clinical Hospital “Dubrava” also became the School’s teaching base for a small number of clinical courses in dentistry. Teaching basic medical courses is regulated by a contractual agreement with subject teachers from the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb. In addition, many of national and international renowned experts became visiting professors at our School.
The modern society’s ever increasing focus on cognition has also been recognized by the School of Dental Medicine, University of Zagreb. Thus, in the past ten years, it has become the profession’s main foundation in the Republic of Croatia, thanks to its structure, teaching organization, and its curricula. By signing the Bologna declaration in 2001, at the Ministerial Conference in Prague, Croatia committed itself to modifying its system of higher education by the year 2010, so as to comply with the Bologna principles. The preparations for implementing the Bologna Declaration at the School of Dental Medicine presented many a challenge, and requirements that needed to be met. Consequently, this period saw numerous changes on all levels of the School’s functioning.