We live internationally
"For me personally, it is important to support this international orientation in all its facets. I would like to welcome you, our international guests, colleagues, and encourage you, our employees and students, to venture your own way abroad. For the benefit of the Charité and in the sense of an open, globally networked society."
Prof. Dr. Heyo K. Kroemer - CEO
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Agenda for Internationalization
Charité staff working in the fields of research, medicine, patient care and education, as well as students studying at the Charité stem from over 100 countries, and span every continent. Similarly, numerous patients travel to Charité from abroad to receive treatment from leading international - specialists and experts from the respective medical fields. The Charité sees itself as an open-minded international representative of excellent medical care. As such, it supports internationalization in the areas of research, education, patient care and administration. In doing so, Charité has defined the following strategic objectives:
- Strengthen Charité as an international brand and enhance its research potential
- Recruit leading international experts from all medical disciplines and research fields
- Commit to corporate social responsibility at home and abroad
To achieve these aims, Charité’s Agenda for Internationalization focuses on the following measures:
- Promoting international relations by encouraging strategic networks and selected bilateral partnerships.
- Creating an open, welcoming work environment that strengthens intercultural/ language competences amongst staff (internationalization at home).
- Supporting projects and collaborations, which advance Charité's global mission.
Partnerships form an integral component of Charité’s Internationalization Strategy. They enhance reputation, promote profile building and boost Charité’s international visibility as a pillar of academic excellence in the medical field. Partnerships facilitate greater know-how, perspective and impact, whilst increasing the attractiveness of Charité as an international partner and employer. The Charité is currently involved in approximately 150 centrally registered institutional partnerships, as well as numerous hospital cooperation’s and individual collaborations. These link Charité departments and institutes to those of other organizations. As such, the sheer scope and diversity of international cooperation calls for a structured approach, which necessitates monitoring and profile-building activities.
Action Point 1: Profile Building and Strategic Networks
Partnerships form an integral component of Charité’s Internationalization Strategy. They enhance reputation, promote profile building and boost Charité’s international visibility as a pillar of academic excellence in the medical field. Partnerships facilitate greater know-how, perspective and impact, whilst increasing the attractiveness of Charité as an international partner and employer. The Charité is currently involved in approximately 200 centrally registered institutional partnerships, as well as numerous hospital cooperations and individual collaborations.
As a result, Charité’s strategy development process identified three separate networks that will form the basis of Charité’s Agenda for Internationalization. These networks operate on a local, regional and global level and involve international partners of profound strategic importance to Charité.
- Berlin University Alliance (BUA) and its international partners (local and global)
- European University Hospital Alliance - EUHA (Regional)
- M8 Alliance of Academic Hospitals (Global)
Whilst these three networks differ both in terms of thematic focus and operational structures, they share a number of common features: All three partnerships operate on an Executive Board level, their projects and focal areas span a range of Charité fields, and resulting activities have the capacity to systemically impact both Charité itself and academic medicine at large.
Upcoming: On 4th November a panel discussion will take place on the topic of Health Apps. Organised by the University of Zürich and the Charité, the discussions will bring together renowned scientists in the medical field, IT experts and decision makers from the fields of politics and business to bring their perspectives on the use of mobile applications in the health sphere.
Action Point 2: Internationalization at Home
Internationalization at home covers three important areas: 1) creating a welcoming work environment; 2) tapping into the potential value and resources of cultural diversity; and 3) providing opportunities for persons to acquire international experiences who are either unable or do not intend to be mobile. As a central action point, this theme impinges on all branches in the Charité (education, research, patient care and their administrative body). It helps ensure that in addition to recruiting international talent, the Charité also focuses on their retention and integration by:
- offering classes in different languages,
- making sure that mobility opportunities aim at enhancing intercultural and language competence and are not limited to students, but are also actively promoted among staff from across nursing, medical services, allied health services and to medical care, and
- enabling cultural awareness and sensitivity to help increase levels of patient satisfaction.
Action Point 3: International Research Collaborations
Science depends on the sharing of different ideas, opinions and concepts. The pursuit of international research collaborations is a fundamental requirement of world - class research and enhances Charité’s research performance and its international visibility. Charité boast a myriad of international research collaborations, which are mainly conducted by individual researchers and research teams. At the central level, the Faculty Board’s current focus is on European collaborations and the implementation of a European research funding strategy.
Action Point 4: Internationalization of Education
An example of a transnational approach at the European level is the Bologna Process, which seeks to integrate higher education traditions from across the European Union. Innovative concepts such as the European Universities Initiative will start to play an increasingly important role in higher education, including in academic medicine. Charité will start to develop its networks by building international collaborations.
Presently, levels of student mobility at Charité are very good. With over 82 partners from across 26 countries, Erasmus+ offers a total of 182 exchange places for students of medicine, dentistry, the health care sciences and public health. In addition to these, there are more than 30 clinical elective and final year practical training rotations in non-European locations.
Charité also offers three English-language Master’s programs – International Health, Medical Neurosciences and Molecular Medicine – which attract mainly international students. The International Health Master’s degree program is genuinely international in both content and outlook. In addition the program pays special attention to Global Health and Healthcare Systems in the so-called Global South.
Action Point 5: International Patients
Charité International Patients aims to deliver optimal services for Charité’s international patients, ensuring they can both access and benefit from Charité’s high - end medical services. Providing services for international patients is not merely an opportunity to further enhance Charité’s reputation and visibility on the international stage; rather, it is also of enormous significance in terms of supporting scientific progress, particularly with regard to patients with rare diseases. Over the past few years, Charité has started coordinating certain activities with Vivantes, covering the areas of business development, organizational processes and treatments available.
In addition, the Charité international staff members (such as medical specialist programs and other initiatives) attract more patients from their countries of origin in their work areas. Thus, the demand for treatment at the Charité is high, which is also due to respective rankings (published in Focus and Newsweek).
Action Point 6: International Recruitement
Science depends on communication and exchange across different countries and cultures. Increasing diversity within the Faculty is, therefore, essential to enhancing both the reputation and research performance of the Charité. In order to strengthen the Charité as an attractive workplace for scientists and researchers, the Charité has implemented a comprehensive Tenure Track Program, which offers an internationally recognized career path.
Furthermore, the Charité offers excellent conditions to young researchers, both from within Germany and beyond, who wish to embark on a career in research. Thanks to the introduction of the new Doctoral Degree Regulations in 2017, Charité does not only offer the conferral of a doctorate, titled “Dr. med.”, but is also able to offer students the option of studying for the internationally recognized doctoral qualification PhD and MD/PhD. In the area of clinical research, talented young candidates have access to the BIH-Charité Clinician Scientist Program, an outstanding mechanism for supporting candidates wishing to pursue a career at the interface of clinical practice and research by providing targeted funding and protected time for the pursuit of research.
The Charité has also developed targeted programs to win and commit international clinical staff. Currently international health care workers are being recruited and receiving language training as well as undergoing special staff development programs. In order to win specialized nursing staff, the nursing directorate pays special attention on a successful integration into the workplace as well as offering continuous education. International doctors have the opportunity to work at the Charité via structured national program called “Medical Specialist Training Program” lasting approx. 5 to 6 years. After completion, the physicians acquire the German specialist-training certificate for physicians, which is unique in Germany. The program begins with a 1-year language-training program - from beginner to C1 - and is closely supervised by the Chief Medical Officer.
As a result, the Charité has been able to build a doctor’s alumni network, which in turn secures international relations, strengthens Charité’s reputation internationally and increases the incoming patient flow from abroad.
Our international colleagues from the areas of education, research, health care and administration make an impact and contribute significantly to Charité’s diversity.
Action Point 7: International Brand
By intensifying internationalization at all levels, the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin will be able to increase their international visibility and reputation, as well as strengthen the Charité brand.
In addition to research communications, publications in high-ranking international journals, as well as the collaborations mentioned above, a successful dissemination and participation in international university rankings play an important factor in further strengthening the brand internationally. Charité has performed particularly well in the rankings over the past few years.
In the sphere of hospital management, Charité is strengthening its international brand by conducting international consultancy projects in different countries. The Charité supports, as an international partner, project processes beginning from planning to construction of new hospitals or special wards. One particularly remarkable project, which is fast nearing its completion, is the construction of a Mother and Child Hospital in Shanghai.
An additional focus is on international alumni. By creating long-term ties with its international alumni, the Charité increases its international visibility and reputation, and strengthens its international networks. This will be of particular significance not only for the recruitment of leading international experts, but also for international consultancy projects and research projects and for the area of Global Health. In as much, the international alumni plays a large role for future fundraising efforts.
Action Point 8: Global Responsibility
Under the header “Global responsibility at home”, Charité delivers voluntary health care services to vulnerable groups with limited access to medical or preventive care.
Examples of this include Charité’s specialist outpatient services and its vaccination campaign for refugees. These initiatives have resulted in Charité being assigned permanent responsibility for the treatment of refugees with mental health problems, and the medical examination and vaccination of all newly arrived asylum seekers. In this area, Charité seek to work closely with public health services in order to complement their existing spectrum of services. Charité’s commitment to the care of vulnerable groups also extends to its curriculum, which ensures that medical students are introduced to this topic early on in their studies.
Charité Global Health department stands for collaboration on an equal footing with national as well as international partner institutions, particularly in the Global South. Many of the challenges and characteristics of health and disease do not respect national borders; they exist at both the local and global levels. The Federal Republic of Germany is highly committed to humanitarian principles and is expanding its involvement in the area of Global Health Policy. It has taken the fully justifiable decision to make global health a priority, both in strategic and political terms.
In line with its guiding principles, research – education/teaching - healing - helping, the Charité assumes international responsibility and together with the Charité Global Health unit works on fighting diseases and improving health.
As part of its role in the Berlin University Alliance (BUA), the Charité is involved in the development of the Berlin Center for Global Engagement (BCGE). The BCGE supports the BUA’s scientific ties with its partners in the Global South. The BCGE will also serve as a think tank, and as a service provider for the areas of science diplomacy, dealing with crisis regions and protecting academic freedom.
The World Health Summit is an annual conference held by the M8 Alliance, one of Charité’s strategic networks. The M8 Alliance is a think tank of 28 members from a total of 19 countries.
In the ten years since its foundation in 2009, the WHS has developed into one of the leading international forums in the fields of public health and global health, and boasts a network of approximately 25,000 people from 9,500 organizations. The idea behind the event – that of an intersectional health care conference which attracts representatives from science, business, politics and civil society and covers a broad spectrum of issues ranging from basic science to governance – is more important than ever. This is why the WHS operates under the motto Science – Innovation – Policies.
As part of its efforts to remain a long-term partner for health care institutions in countries of the Global South, particularly in Africa, the Charité has established a number of clinical partnerships. In addition to collaborations with individual hospitals, the Charité currently has eight partnerships which are funded as part of the ‘Hospital Partnerships’ initiative (Initiative Klinikpartnerschaften) of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
International collaboration and the sharing of knowledge between researchers and physicians from different countries and cultures has always been a driving force behind innovation in biomedical research and the development of new therapies and methods for patient care, respectively treatment of disease. Taking into account the increased challenges created by globalization and also Charité’s eventful history, the Charité has reformed and, as stated in its Guiding Principles, emphasizes the importance of respect; as well as cultivating its relationship with partner institutes, staff and students from within and around the world.
In case you would like to get in touch regarding this agenda, please write to international(at)charite.de.