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Creating a military medical school: the ‘Castrense’ experience in Italy
  1. Fabio Zampieri and
  2. A Zanatta
  1. Department of Cardiac, Thoracic, Vascular Sciences and Public Health, University of Padua, Padova, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr A Zanatta, University of Padua, Padova, Italy; alberto.zanatta.1{at}

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During the World War I, on the front line of Austria’s border, Italy created a military medical school which constituted a unique educational experiment.

In November 1915, during the bloody battles in the Carso, the Italian Supreme Military Command proposed to the Italian government, due to the health emergency that arose in the front lines, the creation of a military medical faculty at San Giorgio di Nogaro (Udine). In this faculty, all the Italian medical students of fifth and sixth years had accelerated courses with a minimum of 50 hours of lessons, including practical exercises, and they could anticipate graduation at the fifth year. Given the structural lack of medical officers, the rank of ‘aspiring medical officer’ was created for students who had completed the fourth year of medicine to assign them to regimental service.1

Established with the Decree n.38 of 9 January 1916, the School of San Giorgio di Nogaro was able to graduate the first aspiring medical officer. The lessons were held during the winter months because war activities were less intense. The course exams and the degree exams were taken at the University of Padua. This school, in military jargon, became the …

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  • Contributors FZ: writing of original draft and investigation. AZ: writing, review and editing; conceptualisation; and investigation.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.