«It is on the basis of our history that we gain our experience
and it is on the basis of our experience
that the most vivid part of our practical thinking is composed»
I.G. Herder

The Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University was founded in September 14 (26) 1897 as the Medical Institute for Women. It was the first institution both in Russia and Europe that provided an opportunity for women to acquire higher medical education.

Soon after its foundation, the Women’s Medical Institute (WMI) became a reputable institution and represented a recognized model for higher medical education and medical science. Clinics and departments of the WMI developed and implemented the most advanced methods of diagnostics and treatment.

Our University has changed a few names since the time of its foundation: the Women’s Medical Institute of St. Petersburg (1918), The First Medical Institute of Leningrad, also known as ‘the 1st Med’ (1924). This name went down in history of St. Petersburg and Russian medicine. In 1936 the First Medical Institute was named in honor of the Nobel Prize winner Academician I. P. Pavlov. In 1994 the First Medical Institute was reorganized into a medical university and got the name Pavlov Saint Petersburg State Medical University. In 2013, the word ‘first’ was returned to official name of University.

In the 1930s the Institute of Chemistry and Pharmacy as well as the Institute of Pediatrics were detached from the First Medical Institute and established as independent units. In the meantime construction of new units and laboratory buildings were already in the design phase but the Second World War bothered to fulfill that plan.

During heroic wartime defense of Leningrad the Institute did not stop providing patient care, education and research; many of its graduates went to war. We revere the memory of our graduates killed in battle. In 1987 a monument in honor of the fallen doctors was erected in the Institute Park, in the very same place where an unexploded bomb had been found.

The 1960–1980’s were marked by a large-scale construction of new academic buildings, dormitories, research laboratories, thus, ‘the 1st Med’ gained its present day appearance.

In the 1990s, a number of departments evolved into Research Institutes.

Today the University continues improving patient care, medical education and science.


«Our surgeons continued operating to the sounds of enemy airplanes,
anti-aircraft gun shots and mine blasts».
I.D. Strashun,
Director of the 1st LMI (1941-1943)



Interesting  facts:

  • Private capital of family of Lydia Shanyavskaya constituted the financial foundation of the Institute. Lydia Shanyavskaya was an eminent activist of a public movement for equal rights for women. A big donation was made by Martha Nobel- Oleynikova, a graduate of the WMI, a member of the famous Nobel family.
  • In 1908 Professor Michael Isaevich Nemenov opened one of the first X-ray rooms in Russia at the Clinic of Faculty Surgery, which was built at the expense of the Nobel family. The first in Europe State Institute of Roentgenology Radiology and Oncology was established ten years later, in 1918.
  • In 1916 male students were allowed to attend classes at the Institute. The Academic Board was granted the right to award academic degrees to male doctors.
  • The Institute was proud to have a number of outstanding female scientists as members of the Institute staff: Anna Akimovna Sakhnovskaya, the first woman in the world to be appointed a full Professor of Medicine, was the Head of the Department of Dermatology and Venereology. Olga Nikolaevna Podvysotskaya, who also carried out research in Dermatovenereology, was the first female Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (since 1939) and the first woman to hold the rank of an Academician of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (since 1944).
  • In 1922 Professor Mikhail Dmitrievich Tushinsky created the first Student Scientific Society in Russia.
  • The USSR’s first Research Institute of Pulmonology was founded in 1967.
  • Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University is the only higher medical school in the city that has an outpatient department attached to the University. 180th anniversary was celebrated from its foundation in 2015.