The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists

39th Annual International Meeting


August 26 - 30, 2001
Prague, Czech Republic


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S. Svacina | M. Balikova | R. Wennig | H. Stead

Welcome address by Stepan Svacina,
Dean of the 1st Medical Faculty

Dear chairpersons, ladies and gentlemen, dear guests,

Let me welcome all of you on behalf of the First Medical Faculty of Charles University in Prague. We are really very happy and honoured to see so many toxicologists here from all over the world.

Allow me to introduce our university and faculty to you in brief:
As you may know the Charles University in Prague was established in l348 and we celebrated the 650-th anniversary of our University and Medical Faculty three years ago. Many famous physicians and scientists have worked here. At present, 3000 students are taught in our First Medical Faculty, including not only students of general medicine but also students of dentistry, nursing, medical technology and occupational therapy and physiotherapy. We have also about 300 postgraduate students (PhD) and about 200 foreign students who come from abroad to study in the English classes which are offered. Four years ago our Faculty has received US accreditation for education in medicine. Our medical school has about 500 teachers spread in 70 institutes. About 20 of such institutes are theoretical and belong only to the Medical Faculty. The remaining 50 institutes are clinical and they are found in the four teaching hospitals based in Prague.

The practical toxicological examinations for clinics and courts took place originally (within years 1930 to 1968) in the Institute of Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry. In 1968 the autonomous Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Chemistry was established in the Faculty. In 1993 The National Reference Laboratory for Forensic Toxicology has been established within this Institute by Ministry of Health. At the end of 1999 the two forensic institutes of our faculty, The Institute of Forensic Medicine and The Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Chemistry were united to form the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology. The Toxicological Department of the Institute has been performing non-stop toxicological laboratory services for hospitals in Prague, central Bohemia and other areas, in addition to forensic services for courts and police.

Medical students are taught forensic toxicology within the framework of forensic medicine here in this Institute. The students of the Faculty of Science are taught analytical toxicology here and this subject is offered also to students of medicine as an optional one.

I am a clinician attached to the metabolic intensive care unit and I can confirm to you that neither metabolic units nor intensive care units could treat patients efficiently without the enormous support of toxicological labs. I would like to mention my gratitude to prof. Jarmila Vecerkova (now retired) from our Faculty who taught many toxicologists their job in a unique and systematic way. She started at our Faculty as a teacher of medical chemistry after the Second World War and in the sixties she switched her interests to toxicology. She published more then 200 papers on toxicology and frequently provided forensic expertises for the benefit of courts and police. Nowadays toxicologists educated by her, represented also by this TIAFT Meeting organizing committee are continuing to keep alive the unique toxicological tradition at our Faculty. They have been doing their best to prepare a good congress for you and I, as a dean of the First Medical Faculty, wish you a valuable scientific meeting and a pleasant stay in the Czech Republic.

Stepan Svacina
Dean of the 1st Medical Faculty
Charles University, Prague

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