January marks the 28th anniversary of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing (IFPS), officially established on January 9, 1996.
This Institute’s history started over 30 years ago, with the creation of the Diagnostic-Treatment-Rehabilitation Center for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired “Cochlear Center,” thefirst of its kind in Poland and the second in Europe. In 1996, following up on the Center’s scientific, clinical, and organizational achievements, Prof. Henryk Skarżyński formulated a program and created the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing. In 2003, after a lot of effort and previous work on his part, the first part of the World Hearing Center was finally ready. The second part opened in 2012. Both projects were supported by the Foundation of Medical Development “Homo Homini” and the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing’s team.
– I perfectly remember the day of January 9, 1996. It was a Tuesday, just as it is today. On that day, the act of establishment of the Institute landed on my desk, signed by Prof. Jacek Żochowski – the Minister of Health, prof. Grzegorz Kołodko – the Minister of Finance, and Prof. Aleksander Łuczak – the chairman of the Scientific Research Committee.
It was an extremely important document enabling us to start acting, working, and developing. Back then, we were a group of a dozen friends brought together by enthusiasm and a dream to create a world-class hearing disorders treatment center. And it was a dream that came true. But this success took a lot of dedication, self-discipline, and determination. We were working a dozen hours a day in varying conditions because we knew that our goal was of great importance – recalls Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, the director and creator of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing.
– As I often remark, my work is my passion. I have always had one goal in mind – to help the ill. I knew that many of my patients would not stand a chance to regain their health and return to the world of sounds if they did not get adequate treatment. It is with them in mind that I developed and implemented the cochlear implant program in 1992, and in 1993 established the first in Poland and second in Europe Diagnostic-Treatment-Rehabilitation Center for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired “Cochlear Center” based on which the Institute was established – recalls Prof. H. Skarżyński.
The Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing was created entirely by the ideas of a small group of scientists, doctors, engineers, and specialists under the guidance of Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, who inspired all with his enthusiasm and faith in the success of this endeavor. It was a great challenge.
The first year of work was not easy for the Professor’s team. – We had only a small room and a built-in recess in a corridor of one of Warsaw’s hospitals at our disposal, where we carried out rehabilitation activities. The conditions were so bad that it took me only a month to come up with a project of a place where we could help patients in dignified conditions – recalls Prof. Henryk Skarżyński. That began a journey through various institutions and offices searching for funding and people willing to support the project.
Thanks to the support from Jacek Kuroń, the Minister of Work and Social Policies at the time, Prof. Henryk Skarżyński met with the president of the State Fund for Rehabilitation of the Disabled Persons. On behalf of his friends from the medical branch of the Foundation of Medical Development “Homo-Homini,” Prof. Skarżyński proposed to build a specialist center from scratch.
Thanks to the Foundation’s efforts, a piece of land in Kajetany, a city near Warsaw, was bought, and soon, the first part of the Centre was ready. After the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing was established on Prof. Skarżyński’s initiative, the building was donated to serve as its activity center.
Before implementing the plan to move to Kajetany, we managed to adapt nearly one whole floor of the apartment building where the Foundation had its headquarters. In three months, we managed to transform the space for the centers’ needs in such a way as to ensure the Diagnostic-Treatment-Rehabilitation Center for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired “Cochlear Center” would begin its work by the first anniversary of the first implementation of a heading implant in Poland on July 14, 1993, – recalls Prof. Skarżyński.
During the preparations for the construction, the Institute temporarily moved to an abandoned hospital next to Warsaw’s Steelworks. In 1997, the Foundation of Medical Development “Homo-Homini” started the construction of the new headquarters for the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing in Kajetany. The foundation act was signed by Prof. Józef Zwisłocki, the grandson of Ignacy Mościcki, former Polish president, as the Honorary President of the International Scientific Committee; Józef Oleksy, Polish PM; Karol Świątkowski, the president of the State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled People, and Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, the director of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing.
– The Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing had to be created because thousands of patients with hearing disorders needed treatment. For many of them, a modern clinical and scientific center was a big or only chance to regain health, return to the world of sounds, and live life to its fullest. We made their dream to be healthy come true – sums up Prof. Skarżyński.
Since 2003, around 20 thousand surgical procedures have been performed yearly in Kajetany– the largest number worldwide. The Center is a constantly evolving place where, every year, new milestones in the medical field are achieved. Here, several pioneer operations have been performed, unique forms of training have been implemented, new scientific challenges have been undertaken, and numerous breakthroughs have been made. – What makes me the happiest is that Polish patients are the first to gain access to the newest technology, or at least one of the first – remarks prof. Henryk Skarżyński.
28 years of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing
around 4 500 000 consultations and examinations
over 558 000 surgical procedures
over 23 000 scientific lectures
over 12 500 hearing implant surgeries
over 1 450 awards and distinctions