The Faculty of Health Sciences has an outstanding international reputation and many of our graduates are leaders in their fields, both in South Africa and worldwide.
The Faculty offers students a superb training with practical clinical experience in no less than five major hospitals.
Background and Overview
The Wits Medical School, which is located in Parktown adjacent to the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, is approximately 4kms north of the Johannesburg CBD and 2km east of the Main Campus of the University of the Witwatersrand.
The Medical School accepted its first students in 1919, and since then has graduated more than 10 000 medical doctors as well as thousands of dentists, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and pharmacists.
The Dental School was established in 1925 when the University established its degree course in Dental Surgery.
In 1997 the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Dentistry amalgamated. This amalgamation, as well as the need to fully integrate other disciplinary activities which included physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing and pharmacy and pharmacology, led to the formation of the present Faculty of Health Sciences. The Faculty has a staff of over 350 academics, including more than 50 professors in pre-clinical and clinical disciplines, while there are more than 350 technical, administrative and other support staff. Teaching is complemented by 500 registrars who are training to be specialists. In addition, clinical specialists serve as consultants and part-time teachers for the various professional programmes while some general practitioners teach clinical students in their consulting rooms.
The vast network of full-time academics, technicians and consultants constitute the largest Health Sciences Faculty in Africa and one of the largest in the world. The Faculty is sectioned into seven Schools on the basis of the various disciplines. They are the Schools of Anatomical Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Oral Health Sciences, Pathology, Physiology, Public Health and Therapeutic Sciences.
Throughout its history the Faculty has produced graduates who have gone on to become world leaders in their chosen fields, many of whom have achieved great fame and renown both within their speciality and more broadly throughout the health sciences. Many of our graduates are household names and instantly recognised by the public.
In most years the Faculty awards almost 400 internationally recognised undergraduate degrees and diplomas, as well as having about 500 specialists in training, and awards around 60 postgraduate degrees (Masters and Doctorates).
Recently, the Faculty introduced a new 4 year course in medicine open only to graduates or students coming through our first two years of study. The new course is integrated in structure and makes full use of IT capacity as well as small group, self-driven study techniques.
At present, the Faculty services over 5 000 patients in Gauteng at the following teaching hospitals and health centres: Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Hillbrow Primary Care Clinic, Muldersdrift Clinic, Sterkfontein Hospital, Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, Helen Joseph Hospital and Tara Hospital. It also uses several rural hospitals in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Northern Province for the rural clinical blocks for MBBCh, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy.
The Faculty provides comprehensive support to academically challenged or disadvantaged students, and encourages all students who experience difficulties with studying for whatever reason to make full use of the available assistance.
The Health Sciences Students Council has representatives from all the students within the Faculty, and student representation and participation on all committees in the Faculty is encouraged. In parallel to the Health Sciences Students Council, each of the individual professions has its own Students Council. There are numerous social, sporting and religious committees based at Medical School, and even though the demands on student time are considerable, many manage to take part in activities.
Wits Health Sciences Library serves staff and students of the Faculty and the health professionals of Gauteng. It was established in 1926 and houses over 40 000 books and 700 journal titles. The Cyber Services facility has been established to provide on-line access to electronic journals and tables of contents, and the numbers of each accessible via this facility is being increased as and when possible.
There are several teaching museums. The Hunterian Museum of Anatomy and Bremner Museum of Surgery are used by both undergraduates and postgraduates, while the Adler Museum of Medicine houses one of the world s finest collections of medical artefacts and is accessible to all.
Memorial sculpture to commemorate the acceptance of the Internal Reconciliation Commission manifesto, February 2000
Lawrence Chait (b1943)
The sculpture comprises two figures holding books, portraying medical students. The one on the left in the picture looks down and represents the years of shame when students of colour were not allowed to participate fully in the training facilities at Medical School because of the apartheid laws. The sharp barbs represent the pain and embarrassment suffered by these students at the time. The figure on the right is a student looking upwards and forwards towards the future and represents a united and non-racial Medical School.
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Faculty of Health Sciences
The Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, commits itself to the ideals of non-discrimination in its teaching, the constitution of its student body, the selection and promotion of its staff and in its administration. It reaffirms its rejection of racism and other violations of human rights in whatever form they make their challenge.
In committing itself to these ideals the Faculty acknowledges that these values have not been honoured and it apologises for the hurt and suffering caused to students, staff and patients by past racial and other discriminatory practices.
The Faculty recognises the respect that staff and students have in preserving these ideals and pays tribute to the efforts of those who strove to bring about change for the benefit of future generations.
2 February 2000