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Entrance to the main hospital of CMC

Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, known simply as "CMC Vellore", is one of the largest and most reputed medical centres in India. This century old Christian institution was founded by Ida S. Scudder, and is located in the city of Vellore in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India.



Ida S. Scudder as a young Woman

The idea of starting a hospital occurred to Ida Sophia Scudder in the late 1800s, when Ida visited her medical missionary father, John Scudder, Jr., at his post in Tamil Nadu. One night, Ida was asked to help three women from different families struggling in difficult childbirth. Custom prevented their husbands from accepting the help of a male doctor and being without training at that time, Ida herself could do nothing. The next morning she was shocked to learn that each of the three women had died. She believed that it was a calling and a challenge set before her by God to begin a ministry dedicated to the health needs of the people of India, particularly women and children. Consequently, Ida went back to America, entered medical training and, in 1899, was one of the first women graduates of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University;

Shortly thereafter, she returned to India and opened a one-bed clinic in Vellore in 1900. Two years later, in 1902, she built a 40-bed hospital. In 1909, she started the School of Nursing, and in 1918, a medical school for women was opened under the name Missionary Medical School for Women. The medical school was upgraded into a university affiliated medical college granting the degree of M.B.B.S. in 1942, under the name Christian Medical College. Men were admitted to this college in 1947, ten in a class of 35.

In addition to the Medical and Nursing schools that she founded, Dr. Ida frequented outlying villages and started a roadside dispensary of sorts, in 1916. Over the years, these roadside dispensaries were upgraded into rural health and development programs.

CHAD (Community Health and Development) building in Bagayam village

100 years since Dr. Ida Scudder opened the first clinic, the hospital now caters to 3,000 outpatients, 1,000 inpatients, 55 surgical procedures, 22 clinics, and about 30 births every day. CHAD, CONCH, and RUHSA workers go to the villages and rural areas to raise awareness about the methods of disease prevention, health care and community empowerment.

Christian Medical College

The Christian Medical College is today a referral tertiary care hospital. CMC’s graduates stay on to work in hospitals affiliated to the Christian Medical Association of India.

The College is owned and administered by the Christian Medical College Vellore Association which is a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act of India. The Association is made up of 54 churches and other Christian Medical organisations. The Christian Medical College Council, which comprises the members of the Association and other Indian and foreign organisations, governs the CMC Vellore Association.

In 1918 Dr.Ida Scudder established a Medical School for Women, which was upgraded to a College in 1942 and became coeducational in 1947. Each year 60 students, of which at least 25 are women, are admitted for the undergraduate medical course (M.B.B.S. of The Tamil Nadu Dr.M.G.R.Medical University). Of the 60 seats, 6 seats are reserved for wards of CMC faculty and a minimum of 44 seats are reserved for Christian students sponsored by Churches and Christian organisations which are members of the Christian Medical College Vellore Association. The rest of the seats are thrown open to students from all over the country.

Scholarships are available to students who need financial assistance. The students and the faculty live in a residential campus. Training in Community Medicine involves daily village visits to collect data about disease prevention awareness, child malnutrition, living conditions, socio economic status and educational status. Following completion of the course, all CMC graduates are mandated to work for a period of two years in hospitals run by the Churches and Christian organizations which sponsored them. The Postgraduate trainees are considered faculty and they work in the wards or laboratories.

Of the 750 odd doctors who comprise the Medical faculty, a minimum of 75% in every department must be of the Christian faith. Among the Nursing faculty a minimum of 90% of the staff must be Christians. However, the rule has been relaxed to a minimum of 50% Christian representation in the case of the attenders and other non professional staff to help the local population eke out a living. It still remains to be seen if an acceptable proportion of Christians can be brought in among the house maids and babysitters working in the campus as Christians are usually well educated and prefer white collar jobs.


  • A P Pandey (Recient of Padmashree)
  • Bimal Bachhawat (1962)- Recipient of Bhatnagar Prize
  • Jayaraman Gowrishankar (1997)- Recipient of Bhatnagar Prize
  • Daleep S Mukharji - Recipient of B C Roy Award, OBE, Director of Christian Aid.
  • Dayalan Devanesan, recipient of "Order of Australia"
  • George M Chandy - Recipient of B C Roy Award
  • Ganesh Gopalakrishnan - Recipient of B C Roy Award
  • Binayak Sen paediatrician, public health specialist, human rights leader, Chhattisgarh, India. Recipient of Jonathan Mann Award.
  • Rajnikanth Arole public health specialist, Jamkhed, India - Magsaysay Award winner
  • Ajit Varki medical researcher
  • Thomas Thomas, the first Indian cardio-thoracic surgeon.
  • Ashok Venkitaraman, Ursula Zoellner Professor of Cancer Research, University of Cambridge
  • Sudi Devanesen, physician and health educator in Canada, Recipient of "Order of Canada"
  • Jessie Harry Michael, R.N., R.M., Nurse
  • Harry Thangaraj, Assistant Director of the MIHR Oxford
  • Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH Global Foundation for Transparency and Accountability
  • Dr. David V. Rajan, eminent arthroscopic surgeon and former president, Indian Arthroscopy Society
  • Dr. Chitra Bharucha, Member of BBC Trust, MBE recipient
  • Shiv Pillai, eminent Immunologist, Harvard Medical School
  • Paul Gunachander, prominent Orthopedic surgeon.
  • Jones Kurian Pain Medicine Consultant Director Pain Relief Solutions, Innomed Ltd
  • Margarete Kurian, Ophthalmologist, Augenarztpraxis Nawgiri,Ludwigsburg,Germany

See also

External links



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