Any one who has newly arrived at the Solna campus will have been shown the glistening new Aula Medica (with pride) by one or other, current student or staff member of Karolinska. It is beautiful – glinting in the sunlight, this ecofriendly, geometric, coloured glass creation will provide a much needed conference venue for public events held at Karolinska. On the 26th of September, the Aula was opened to the students and staff to look around and see inside. Fairy cakes, biscuits, tea and coffee were provided and all those who were interested were allowed to wander through the auditorium, the offices, up the stairs and admire the architecture, the views and the overall spectacle of the place.
However, it should be noted, that the Aula is not the only area under construction at Karolinska…. If you are one of the Global Health Masters students there is a good chance you will be in the newly completed Widerstrom Building, which houses the Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics (LIME), the Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) and the Institute for Communicable Disease (SMI). This newly completed, red brick, high tech building is equipped with all the necessary educational additions and is where (us) Global Health Masters students spend our days (all of our days in their entirety). Although our lunches and tea times are sychnronised with the other courses, to allow for equal access to the kitchen facilities, if you are lucky – you might get to meet some of your other class mates from Health Informatics or Public Health who also spend some of their time in this same building. We are the first batch of Global Masters students to inhabit this building – and have promptly made ourselves comfortable. The name of the building has an interesting origin as it was named after Sweden’s first female doctor: Karolina Widerstrom. In 1884, Karolina Widerstrom became the first woman to obtain a licentiate degree in medicine at the Karolinska Institute. Four years later, in 1888, she became Sweden’s first licensed female doctor specializing in women’s medicine and gynecology. She later championed women’s rights. From a global health perspective, where gender cross cuts most global issues relating to access, treatment and care – it is rather suiting that we find ourselves in this building bearing her name!
The construction of the Biomedicum is also underway and can be seen from the windows of researcher’s offices on the 4th Floor of Widerstrom. This Biomedicum, at present is simply a building site however will become a modern, high tech facility for experimental medical research. Sadly, the completion of this building will not be during my time at Karolinska.
Although this campus is one under construction, it does not lack a fair bit of charm – covered with trees, historic little pieces of Swedish architecture around, open face brick buildings, the beautiful new Library building….particularly now – when the fall leaves are in full blaze. Overall quite a spectacular campus to wonder around (and more often than not – get lost in)!