The Founder

Prof. Dr. Helio Lourenço de Oliveira

The Internal Medicine Department of the FMRP is in view of its diversity, tinted by the tones bequeathed by its pioneers, but the basic collaboration was given and remains indelible, though subtle, by its founder Prof. Hélio Lourenço de Oliveira. At age of 36 , in 1953, the young Professor, Head of the Nutrition Diseases Service of the Clinical Hospital of the Medical School of USP – São Paulo, was invited to organize and direct the Internal Medicine Department of this School. He meditated a lot, counseled himself before deciding to face the new task.

"In charge of the initial organization of the Internal Medicine Department of FMRP-USP included the responsibility of conducting two new experiences. The first was to build a team of clinical faculty working full time. Adequate resources and an environment conducive to scientific research would therefore be essential, without which this work regime would lose its meaning. The second was to organize the teaching of Internal Medicine in a broad sense, since the Department should unify what had traditionally been the independent attribution of more than one chair of the same denomination, and also the autonomous chairs of Propaedeutics, Therapeutics, Radiology and Infectious Diseases."

During his career, he held all posts at the University, reaching the position of Vice-Rector, while in the Rector’s acting, promoted the first major reform of the University of São Paulo, supported by the majority of teachers and students.
The University was not immune to the political and social upheavals that marked the 60’s and 70’s. Participant in these movements, through its teachers and students, suffered the loss of its autonomy. The compulsory retirement of the then Vice-Rector, Prof. Hélio Lourenço de Oliveira, in 1969, is a clear example of the errors resulting from the political-partisan and ideological intervention at the University.
At this point a new chapter in the life of the Department was opened as a result of the sharp suppression of its pacemaker, although by now pioneer teachers were already prepared for the tasks ahead. Some disturbances of the rhythm were expected, even if there had not been the withdrawal of Prof. Hélio. The reform he led, despite the changes he underwent, still had a very strong component of transformations, which eventually led to profound changes not only in the Internal Medicine Department, but also in all University. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that major changes could have taken place if the reform had been implemented as previously approved by the University Council.
The Prof. Helio cultivated respect for dignity in its broadest sense, applied to both people and institutions. The observance of this principle, which he never gave up, cost him compulsory withdrawal from the University. In the initial period of his retirement (1969-1972) he held the post of adviser to the World Health Organization in the Medical Education sector in Alexandria, Egypt, covering the Middle East and North Africa.He returned to USP in the year of 1982. He quickly incorporated himself, beginning to influence the University again with his ideas and attitudes. When he returned, he brought all his titles, and despite that, he was worthy of his free choice to give classes to the students of the 41st medical year at the Vila Lobato health clinic. Soon he was elected Head of the Internal Medicine Department and later Director of FMRP. It would not be unexpected for him to return to the top position at USP, he had not died on March 14, 1985.