German doctor and scientist: Armenian specialists have a great potential
German doctor and scientist: Armenian specialists have a great potential

German doctor and scientist, Adjunct Professor of Yerevan State Medical University after Mkhitar Heratsi Matthias Schwab will firstly be involved in clinical pharmacology training for future pharmacists as he arrives in Armenia.

Professor Schwab is the Chair of Clinical Pharmacology at the University Tubingen and the Director of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital Tubingen and the Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch-Institute of Clinical Pharmacology (IKP) at Robert-Bosch-Hospital in Stuttgart, Germany. 

- Let us start with your decision to become a doctor. How did it happen? Was that your dream?

My parents were pharmacists: they were not only dealing with drugs, but also with healing and diagnosing patients. And that was a reason why I was interested in studying medicine.  

Firstly, I was working as a pediatrician (around 10-13 years), and then I was more and more interested in drugs and did a second education as clinical pharmacologist. I am both a pediatrician, as well as a doctor for clinical pharmacology with an experience of around 30 years.

- What kind of challenges does being a doctor bring?

If you decide to treat patients only, this is one task, but now I decided to work as a scientist in medicine. It means also that you have to move to other countries. Otherwise, it is impossible to get a position as my current one – professor of the university. You have to have international experience. This, of course, is not so easy, as it, for example, depends on your family. As for me, I moved to the United States with my family. Money is an important issue as well: you have to look for salary, for grants. This is sometimes a challenging job, but I managed it well.

- Why did you decide to move to science and leave practical medicine?

One reason was – to better understand mechanisms how drugs are working, also what is necessary to introduce new drugs. This requires a lot of research work also. I think, this was too interesting: that was why I changed field.

- What privileges do you enjoy being a doctor?

I don’t see privileges. We have only some more duties. As a professor, I have additional tasks and missions like teaching, research activities, also treating patients. I don’t think this is a privilege.

- How would you describe the time of your career when you were a pediatrician? Did you like it?

I think it was very important for me. As a pediatrician, I got acquainted with clinical work - contact to patients, understanding their diseases and emotions. These were my tasks when I was working as a pediatrician. Now as a clinical pharmacologist I am more a researcher. I can use this experience and tremendous network to clinicians which I established when I was working as a pediatrician.

- Do you manage to relax? What about your hobbies?

During my study of medicine in Germany I was interested in church music. I play organ in church, further - also for health reasons – I do some sports. I am interested in some books as well. But time is limited. Music, literature and sport, I guess, are my most important hobbies.

- Have you ever been to Armenia?

Unfortunately, not yet. I started preparing for traveling to Armenia several times but because of COVID-19 it wasn’t possible. However, I have a close colleague – Lusine Danielyan. She comes from Armenia. Through her, I learned a lot about Armenia. I learnt that this is a wonderful country with a very long history, a lot of churches and highly educated people. Armenian specialists have a great potential.             

- Are you planning to visit Armenia in the future?

If everything goes well and the vaccination processes are finished, then, of course, I will travel to Armenia. I will come to Armenia to learn about the country, but, firstly, to be involved in clinical pharmacology training at YSMU. 

- As an experienced doctor and scientist with a rich professional path, what advice would you give to your future colleagues?

The most important issue for a future doctor is education and training. This is important for medical students and medical doctors.

- What qualities should a good doctor have?

A good doctor should be open-minded. A good doctor should try to get as much information as possible by taking part a lot at discussions, by doing research on internet platforms etc. A good doctor must be able to communicate with patients. 


Author: Tatevik Ghazaryan