From a historical point of view the Department inherited the traditions of the Department of Social Hygiene created in 1976. Founder of Social Hygiene Department in 1976 was senior assistant professor Gena Grancharova. In the academic year 1977/78 the first assistant professors were appointed – Petkana Hristova (at present professor in the Faculty of Public Health), d-r Nevena Tzacheva (at present assoc. prof. in the National Centre for Prevention and Control of Public Health) and d-r Natashka Danova (at present assoc. prof. in the National Centre for Prevention and Control of Public Health).
In 1979 the Department started working on several scientific themes: morbidity with temporary incapacity for work, physical development of newborns (in collaboration with the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department) and epidemiology of urologic infections in the region of Pleven. At the same time students were actively involved in the first students’ circle in social hygiene.
In January 1980 assoc. prof. Veselin Borisov was appointed and run the department till 1988. In 1987 assoc. prof. Veselin Borisov defended his doctoral dissertation and in 1988 was appointed a professor, and continued his scientific career in Sofia.
In the period 1980-1983 the first monographs were published: “Physical development of newborns in the Republic of Bulgaria”, “Health care systems”, and the scientific review “Medico-social aspects of morbidity with temporary incapacity for work”.
In 1985 the Department started teaching a new subject – Introduction to computer technologies (now the subject is called Informatics).
In 1984 senior assistant professor d-r Gena Grancharova was appointed an associate professor. In the period 1987 – 1989 assoc. prof. Gena Grancharova was the Vice Rector of Education in the Higher Institute of Medicine, and after prof. Borisov’s leave for Sofia, she is the head of the Department.
In 1988 senior assistant professors Petkana Hristova and Natashka Danova defended successfully their doctoral theses. D-r Danova went to work in Sofia. In the same year d-r Magdalena Balashkova was appointed an assistant professor. She worked in the Department for 10 years and in 1998 became one of the assistant professors of the Department of General Medicine.
In 1989 d-r Angelika Velkova was appointed an assistant professor. In 1994/95 she graduated the master degree programme in Epidemiology at the Rotterdam University, The Netherlands. In 2001 d-r Velkova successfully defended her doctoral dissertation and in 2003 was appointed an associate professor.
Since the academic year 1996/1997 the Department was engaged with the organization of the training in a new specialty for the country and the Higher medical institute – “Management of Health Care”, a baccalaureate degree, providing students with two professional qualifications: “Manager of health care services” and “Teacher in practice at a medical college”.
The training program was developed within the range of technical cooperation with the European Union – program PHARE with the partnership of experts from France and Belgium. Assoc. Prof. Grancharova was appointed director of the new specialty.
In 1998 two new assistant professors were appointed for the purpose of training medical students – d-r Stanislav Vitanov (who worked in the Department till 2000) and d-r Stela Georgieva. In the field of Management of Health Care there were also two assistant professors appointed in 1998 – Makreta Draganova and d-r Mariela Kamburova. At the end of 1999 d-r Silviya Alexandrova was appointed an assistant professor, and in 2003 – Nadia Veleva, who holds a master degree in economics.
In the year 2000 assoc. prof. in pedagogy Vili Nisheva joined the academic staff of the Department.
In 2001-2002 D-r Silviya Alexandrova graduated a two year European master degree program in Bioethics, developed by 4 European Universities.
In 2001-2003 Makreta Draganova and d-r Mariela Kamburova graduated the master degree programme in Management of Health Care.
Since the academic year 2001/2002 the Department introduced a master degree program in Management of Health Care for graduates holding a baccalaureate degree in Management of Health Care and since 2002/2003 full-time training for baccalaureate students in Management of Health Care was established.
In 2002 the Department was renamed to Social medicine and healthcare management.
Along with the Bulgarian and English language training of medical students, the Department conducts the major part of the training and coordinates the work of all the other lecturers, who take part in the training of baccalaureate and master students in Management of Health Care.
Lecturers from the Department carry out the training in 5 subjects at the medical colleges belonging to the organizational structure of the Medical University – Pleven.
In 2004 the Department invited a visiting professor from DAAD – prof. Hanneke van Maanen, who lectured in English 4 modules: Principles of Nursing Science, Nursing Diagnosis, Methodology of Research and Public Health Nursing.
Irrespective of the enormous training workload and the personnel problems, the academic staff of the Department works both in individual capacity and collaboratively with a number of departments in the following scientific fields: epidemiologic analysis and evaluation of the current condition and processes evolving in public health area in Bulgaria and the European region; demand, management and development of health care in Bulgaria; social gerontology – health status, social problems, consumption of health and medical services; new approach to elderly in the general practioners’ practice; ethical issues in medical practice; health-related quality of life in healthy individuals and patients with different diseases. The results of those researches are published in many Bulgarian and foreign journals, and are implemented in the training process.