The strong awareness of the need for a qualitative leap in the development of human resources in health motivated the Government approval of the creation of two medical schools in the country having been established however since then that the candidate projects would have to introduce profound changes in the medical curriculum, thus allowing to renew the teaching of Medicine in Portugal.
In accordance with that provision, the Universidade da Beira Interior launched out into another great challenge and submitted an application for an innovative project of medical studies, a project which was approved by resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 140/98 of 4 December.
That project suggested the development of innovative models of training, guided by scientific standards, and assistance of high quality teaching, in which the articulation with the units of health care would be ensured by a different and innovative organizational model.
Based on the listed assumptions three guidelines for pedagogic methodology to adopt in the Faculty of Health Sciences were outlined:
- The creation of a pedagogical model which replaces the "traditional" education system, that consisted of a sum of academic subjects, for an integrated education system, based on the establishment of objectives and using the problem-based learning, whenever possible;
- Emphasis on learning by the student, instead of the processes that lead to the "storage" of information, being essential to focus on learning, on the relationship between "teaching and learning", understanding teaching as a system to ease it up;
- Continued monitoring of pedagogical methodology.
All the requirements for the creation of the medical studies were completed, having been created structural and human resources, as well as a pedagogic consolidation for the beginning of the medical degree and postgraduate courses in the academic year 2001/2002.
To ensure all the clinical education component, in February 2001, the protocols of articulation between the University of Beira Interior-Faculty of Health Sciences and health institutions involved in the project graduation - Cova da Beira Hospital Centre (Covilhã and Fundão), Amato Lusitano Hospital (Castelo Branco), Sousa Martins Hospital (Guarda) and Guarda and Castelo Branco subregions of the Regional Health Administration of the Centre (representing the two districts health centres) were signed.
The Faculty of Health Sciences offers the degrees in Biomedical Science and Optometry-Vision Science, the integrated master course in Pharmaceutical Sciences, the master course in Biomedical Sciences, Gerontology, Optometry in Vision Science and the PhD in Biomedicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicine.
In terms of research, the FCS incorporates a research unit, the CICS-Research Centre for Health Sciences, which aims to promote high quality scientific research in clinical, biochemical and epidemiological areas.