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A bit of our history

The Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro was established by the Regent Prince of Portugal, D. João, by Royal Letter signed on November 5th, 1808, with the name Escola de Anatomia, Medicina e Cirurgia [Surgery, Anatomy and Medicine School] and implemented within the Military Hospital of Morro do Castelo. Before that, the colonial philosophy hindered higher education in Brazil, for considering it as a threat to the court’s interests.


The medical profession in the colony was restricted to a few Brazilians graduated in Europe and to a small number of Europeans who came to Brazil to practice their profession.


On April 1st, 1813 the Academia Médico-Cirúrgica [Academy of Medicine and Surgery] was established in Rio de Janeiro, based on a project by Manuel Luís Alvares de Carvalho. However, the issuance of diplomas and certificates for the doctors who studied Medicine in Brazil was authorized only on September 29th, 1826.


On October 3rd, 1832, during the Trina Regency, a law was enacted turning the Academies of Medicine and Surgery of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador into Medicine Schools or Faculties.


Dom Pedro I handed over to the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Vicente Navarro de Andrade (the Baron of Inhomirim), the Decree-law which authorized Brazilian schools to teach doctors and surgeons, as well as to issue diplomas and certificates.


In 1856, the Faculty of Medicine was transferred to the building of Recolhimento das Órfãs, in Rua Santa Luzia, next to the Santa Casa de Misericordia.


On October 12, 1918, the Faculty of Medicine’s own building was inaugurated in Praia Vermelha. After the transfer, the building of Recolhimento das Órfãs, which had accommodated it for almost a century, had its name changed to Institute of Anatomy, where some subjects of the Medicine course were taught until the 1960s.


The Faculty of Medicine functioned as an independent school until September 7th, 1920, when the University of Rio de Janeiro was created by decree. In 1937, when the University of Brazil was established, its name was changed to National Faculty of Medicine.


In 1965, the University of Brazil had its name changed to Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and in 1973, the Faculty of Medicine, which was still located in Praia Vermelha, was moved to the Campus of the University City on the Fundão Island, where it is located until today.


The Faculty of Medicine, by operation of the Law of University Reform, was divided into various locations. The Dean’s Office is located in Block K of the Health and Science Center (CCS) building, in the University City.


In 1975, the National Faculty of Medicine building, inaugurated in 1918, was demolished by decision of the Military Dictatorship (Medici Government).


On March 1st, 1978, the Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho [Fraga Filho University Hospital (HUCFF)] was inaugurated, and most of the Faculty’s Clinical and Surgical subjects were transferred to there. Some of them are still divided between the HUCFF and their original headquarters, such as: 


- Instituto de Pediatria e Puericultura Martagão Gesteira (IPPMG)

  [Martagão Gesteira Child Care and Pediatrics Institute];

- Instituto de Neurologia Deolindo Couto (INDC)

  [Deolindo Couto Institute of Neurology];

- Instituto de Psiquiatria (IPUB)

  [Psychiatry Institute]; 

- Maternidade Escola

  [Maternity School];

- Instituto de Ginecologia

  [Gynecology Institute];

- Instituto de Tisiologia e Pneumologia - atual Instituto de Doenças do Tórax (IDT). 

  [Institute of Pneumology and Phithisiology - now named Institute of Thoracic Diseases ].



About the “Massacre da Praia Vermelha” (Red Beach Massacre)

“To the young students who, at dawn of September 23rd, 1968, in the National Faculty of Medicine building, dared to resist the police forces of the military regime. The episode known as "Massacre da Praia Vermelha" is one of the most important events of the constant fight for academic autonomy. To them, our deepest admiration.”

"Conselho Universitário" (University Council), resolution of Aug.24th. 2006.

The infamous episode known as "Massacre da Praia Vermelha" (Red Beach Massacre) was a hallmark in the history of the Brazilian students‘ union. At dawn of September 23rd, 1968, squads from the military government invaded the old facility of the then- National Faculty of Medicine and savagely beat all students sheltered there. There was also massive depredation of public patrimony, as the action disenabled several of the Faculty's laboratories and administrative sectors. Around 600 students were gathered to protest against the government's arbitrary and oppressive actions and to vindicate the release of a Law student who had been arrested and kept in prison for 35 days.

The National Faculty of Medicine headquarters, which served as stage for the Red Beach Massacre in 1968 was demolished in 1975, during the Military Dictatorship.




Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Av. Carlos Chagas Filho, 373, Edifício do Centro de Ciências da Saúde
(Center of Health Sciences Building), Bloco K, 2nd. Floor, Room 49
Cidade Universitária - Ilha do Fundão - Rio de Janeiro - Brazil - Zip Code: 21.941-902
Phone: +55 21 3938-6708 and +55 21 2280-7793
E-mail: gabinete@medicina.ufrj.br