Heart School

IHS Regulations













Art. 1 – Institution and Name

Scuola International Heart School, hereinafter IHS, was founded in the Ospedali Riuniti de Bergamo in 1993 thanks to its international reputation in diagnoses and cures for cardiovascular pathologies. IHS is currently a part of Fondazione International Heart School L.Parenzan J.W. Kirklin onlus.

Art. 2 – Aims of the IHS and Degrees Awarded

IHS aims to promote the development and dissemination of science and advanced medical techniques in the field of cardiovascular pathologies, with a particular focus on the dissemination of medical excellence in non-industrialised countries and in those which have recently or will soon join the European Union.
Cardiac surgery is a specialised branch which has seen fast and significant progress in the last 40 years. This means it is now possible to successfully treat cardiac pathologies which a few decades ago were considered untreatable or treated with mediocre results. The evolution has been noticeable in all cardiac surgery fields yet particularly in the branches which have developed simultaneously such as cardiac anaesthesia, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology and cardiovascular image diagnostics. Currently, the treatment of cardiac pathologies in adults, heart transplants, ventricular assistance and, last but not least, the treatment of congenital cardiopathologies are the three major areas of cardiac surgery in adults.
Participation in IHS offers students throughout the year specific training with a special emphasis on complex pathologies that affect adults (cardiac decompensation surgery, heart transplants, ventricular assistance, ECMO, mitral valve and aortic valve surgery, thoracic aortic repair, complex arrhythmias) and children (cyanogenic and non-cyanogenic congenital pathologies, transplants and ventricular assistance, ECMO). Moreover, an approach to anaesthesiology and cardiology with respect to the foregoing pathologies play a key role.

1. The Goals of IHS:

  • to train foreign doctors from all developing countries or countries that have recently or will soon join the European Union in the different cardiovascular disciplines (cardiac surgery, cardiology, anaesthesiology and intensive therapy);
  • to contribute to creating a team of specialist doctors in those countries in the different disciplines who can take on positions of responsibility within the country's healthcare facilities in the cardiovascular field within a short period of time in order to improve the overall quality of healthcare in their countries.
  • to increase the care levels qualitatively and quantitatively for cardiovascular diseases in such countries.

2. These training goals are achieved with the following programme:

  • Practical classes at hospitals associated with IHS.
    The Hospitals authorise students' access to cardiac surgery operating theatres to learn the most advanced surgical techniques to treat cardiovascular pathologies.
    Moreover, the Hospitals guarantee students have the opportunity to witness echocardiographic procedures, cardiac catherization and clinical-instrumental diagnostics of other kinds in patients affected by cardiovascular pathologies as well as the chance to monitor patients during post-operative phases, with access to intensive therapy.
  • Theory classes at hospitals
    The theory classes are taught by Hospital personnel who hold the proper professional knowledge outside of their normal service hours and without any disturbance to the normal performance of their institutional tasks. This personnel is selected by the department management in accordance with the authorities at the USC/USSD where the personnel works.
    Learning activities may also be led by highly qualified external teaching faculty.
  • University Master's Degree Level II in Cardiac Surgery and Cardiology
    The IHS Foundation offers the II level University Master entitled International Master of Cardiology and Techniques Applied to Cardiac Surgery at the University of Bergamo and the University of Milan-Bicocca
    The objectives of the University Master's Level II degree coincide with those held by IHS and take into account the importance of extending Master's degrees to European and non-EU students in order to facilitate cultural and scientific exchanges among students and faculty.
    If admitted, attendance in the Master's programme is mandatory. With certification of attendance that is equal to or higher than 75% of the Master's classroom hours and after passing the exams planned, students are awarded 60 ECTS credits, equivalent to 1,500 hours of study.
  • Conferences/workshops
    The workshops are intensive courses taught by national or international experts in the field of Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery and Paediatric Anaesthesia. The classes are interactive; in other words, advanced teams and students exchange information and experiences relating to the most recent developings in curing people with cardiovascular pathologies.
  • Final exam, thesis and assessment
    At the end of the academic year, students must sit an exam to verify they have been adequately prepared. They must defend a thesis during the exam. The defence takes place before an organised board.

4. Degrees awarded:

  • Upon concluding the academic year, IHS awards a certificate of attendance;
  • The University of Bergamo with the University of Milan-Bicocca issue the II level University Master.

Art. 3 – External and International Relations

1. External relations
  • IHS promotes the development of external relations with universities and hospitals by signing collaboration agreements and pacts.
  • IHS establishes agreements and collaborative relationships which are preliminary steps yet not necessary for later agreements. The institutional collaboration agreements are signed by the Chairman of the Fondazione IHS and the heads of participating institutions (Director Generals, university deans, Chairs).

Agreements already established with universities:

  • Università degli Studi de Milán Bicocca
  • Università degli Studi de Bergamo
2. International relations
  • IHS promotes the development of international relations through contacts with the countries of origin of students who have studied at IHS.
  • Humanitarian missions are conducted with a specialised team comprised of cardiologists, surgeons, anaesthesiologists, nurses and technicians who travel to the different locations. Heart disease patients are visited and those who must be operated on are identified in collaboration with local doctors.

Art. 4 – Admission at IHS

  • Depending on the number of openings, IHS accepts candidates from developing countries who hold a bachelor's degree in medicine and surgery (medical degree) and one of the following specialisation diplomas: Cardiac Surgery, Cardiology, Anaesthesia and Reanimation. Preferred requisite: certified experience in diagnostics and/or therapy for cardiovascular pathologies.
  • The maximum number of students who may be accepted per year is 15.
  • The application for admission must be completed and sent 4 months prior to the start of the academic year.

There are two ways to attend IHS:

  • Co-financing
  • Financing by IHS

Art. 5 – Admission to the University Master's Degree Level II in Cardiac Surgery and Cardiology

The 'International Master of cardiology and Tecniques Applied to Cardiac Surgery' master, dedicated to all students who have a Master’s degree LM-13 in Medicine and Surgery (Ministerial Decree n.270 of 2004) or equivalent, has a duration of one year , corresponding to an overall load of 1500 hours, comprehending lectures, internship, master's thesis and individual workload.
NOTE: Enrolment in the Master's programme is incompatible with enrolment in other courses of study offered at this or other universities.

Art. 6 – Period and duration of training

  • The total duration of participation in IHS is 1 academic year.
  • The activities provided for in the curriculum will be offered full-time at the academic facilities.
  • Upon conclusion of the academic year, IHS will have no obligation with regards to students as concerns their future careers or stays in Italy. Any request to this end must be previously reviewed by the IHS Technical-Scientific Committee.

Art. 7 – Learning facilities

The sites where the learning activities are currently conducted are:

  • ASST Papa Giovanni XXIII - Piazza OMS 1- Bergamo
  • A.O. San Gerardo – Via G.B. Pergolesi, 33 – Monza
  • Policlinico di Monza- Via Carlo Amati, 111 - Monza
  • ASST Grande Ospedale Metropolitano - Piazza dell’Ospedale Maggiore 3- Milano
  • Hesperia Hospital- via Arquà 80\A – Modena
  • Spitalul Monza- strada Tony Bulandra, 27- Bucarest
  • Amosov National Insitute of Cardovascular Surgery – Mykoly Amosova St.- Kiev
  • IRCCS Multimedica - via Milanese 300 -Sesto San Giovanni
  • Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesú - Piazza di Sant’Onofrio 4 - Roma
  • Ospedale Infantile Regina Margherita - Piazza Polonia 94 - Torino
  • Kinderspital Zurich - Steinwiesstrasse 75 – Zurigo

Art. 8 – Advising

Each student will be assigned an academic advisor.
Academic advising is aimed at orienting and assisting students throughout their academic year as well as encouraging their participation in the training process, eliminating barriers to achieving beneficial attendance in the IHS course, including initiatives relating to their needs, skills and demands on each student.
Advisor's Tasks:

  • to contribute to student orientation during their training;
  • to improve the quality of the learning conditions;
  • to improve the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the academic services;
  • to encourage scientific production in students;
  • to encourage students to prepare the assigned thesis and discussion for the end of the year.
  • to monitor actual attendance and the suitability of the programmes established.

Art. 9 – IHS Bodies

The IHS bodies are as follows:

  • Board of Directors
  • Scientific Director
  • Technical-Scientific Committee

The Director is reponsible for:

  • Coordinating and supervising activities at IHS;
  • Calling and presiding over Technical-Scientific Committee meetings

The Technical-Scientific Committee is responsible for:

  • evaluating admission applications and recruiting students to IHS;
  • assigning each student an advisor;
  • scheduling student participation in workshops, conferences, conventions, meetings, etc., both internal and external;
  • valuing student scientific production;
  • valuing the technical and practical skills acquired by students by the conclusion of the training activities;
  • adopting disciplinary measures with respect to students.

Art. 10 – Types of Financing Available to Students

During a student's stay, IHS offers:

  • Housing
  • Reimbursement of evening meal expenses at €200 per month
  • access to the hospital dining hall for lunches
  • lab coats with identification cards
  • an area in the hospital equipped with a PC and Internet connection
  • access to the medical library
  • the payment fee relating to the II level University Master in Cardiology and Techniques Applied to Cardiac Surgery

NOTE: Travel expenses from and to the country of origin, medical and personal insurance expenses and expenses corresponding to residence permits are to be paid for by the students.
IHS reserves the right, at its own unquestionable discretion, to co-financing by students or institutions in the country of origin; admission may be subject to this co-financing.

Art. 11 – Means of Attendance

  • The academic year for IHS students begins on October unless otherwise agreed by the IHS Technical-Scientific Committee or other determinations by Università Bicocca.
  • The students' theoretical-practical training must conclude in due time for the final exam.
  • The students' theoretical-practical training involves a general time commitment of at least the same as full-time Italian public healthcare personnel.
  • The student must sign a time card just as all permanent staff while performing all training activities. IHS management has set up appropriate onsite presence control systems.
  • Students will perform their theoretical-practical training activities in the operational units located at IHS and those arranged with it.
  • The students' practical training activity is planned throughout the course as a training activity and may not include all of the activities performed by staff personnel.
  • Student assessment must include the acquisition of theoretical knowledge as well as professional skills.
  • While completing care tasks, students must be assured a staff physician as a reference from the operational unit under which they are working to protect patients and as an essential part of their learning.
  • Patient intake, specialised out-patient services and specialised consultations are a part of the students' training yet must be only as accompanying responsible medical staff.

Art. 12 – Insurance cover

Considering that each student must personally take out personal medical insurance (art.10), IHS offers insurance cover for professional risks and accidents connected to the training activity for students who do not automatically have it enrolled in the II level University International Master in Cardiology and Techniques Applied to Cardiac Surgery (see website: