Traditionally recognized as an institution specialized in health sciences, Unifesp is responsible for the training of qualified human resources and the development of scientific research in health. Its core is the Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM), whose foundation dates back to 1933 and was supported by private funds and government subsidies until its federalization in 1956. With the enactment of Law No. 8957 in 1994, EPM turned into a federal university, keeping the courses in Medial Science, Nursing, Biomedical Sciences, Speech Therapy and Ophthalmic Technology - which now integrates the Health Technologies.
The strong growth experienced by the institution throughout decades has been reflected both in the occupation of more than a hundred buildings in the vicinity of its headquarters in Vila Clementino (São Paulo), in which teaching centers, research institutes and clinics were installed, as well as the construction of own buildings such as Research Buildings I and II, the National Institute of Pharmacology and the Regional Blood Center.
Led by highly qualified faculty, health research at Unifesp is linked to the professional practice, which ranges from primary care to the use of the latest technology in diagnostic methods and disease treatment. The Hospital São Paulo - recognized as the largest teaching hospital in the country and reference in highly complex procedures - provides undergraduate and graduate students the exercise of clinical practice and welfare services to the underprivileged population supported by the Unified Health System (SUS).
From 2005, with the support of local governments and resources from the expansion of the federal program, Unifesp implemented new units in cities near Sao Paulo. New campuses – located in Santos, Diadema, Guarulhos, São José dos Campos and Osasco - took responsibility for organizing knowledge areas that include, among others, the Exact Sciences, the Humanities, Environmental Sciences and Applied Social Sciences. The Escola Paulista de Medicina and the Escola Paulista de Enfermagem are located at São Paulo Campus, representing the historical core of the institution.
On the way to its consolidation as a full university, Unifesp has expanded its faculty by the admission of professionals holding at least a PhD degree and has begun offering new undergraduate courses based on modern pedagogical projects and allowing for greater curricular flexibility. For 48 out of the total of 55 undergraduate courses currently available, access is linked to the Unified Selection System (SiSU), which sets the approval criteria on the score obtained through the National High School Exam (ENEM). This measure, which aims at democratizing access to higher education, is complemented by booking 50% of vacancies to students with greater economic vulnerability.
Graduate programs - created since 1970 - form teachers and researchers with high level of technical and scientific competences, assigning Unifesp the greatest scientific output indicators per teacher, nationwide.
Among the numerous training programs for human resources developed by the institution, specialized courses – presential and distance - allow the continued training of hundreds of professionals in their specialties. Social projects - including the Xingu Project, the Open University of the Third Age and the Centre for Public Policy – cater for interaction between academic knowledge and society as an important instrument of social transformation.
At the international level, Unifesp - as a signatory of important agreements of international cooperation - promotes the exchange of students and faculty and participates in collaborative research networks.
Thus, the multicampus geography of Unifesp, with six campuses and two being implanted in the state macro-metropolitan area, distributed in three metropolitan regions (São Paulo, Santos and São José dos Campos), let us compose a university network in an area of 29 million inhabitants, the largest urban density in the southern hemisphere. This strategic condition leads to a high potential for education, research and extension activities which can be directed to major national and international issues.