Australian Friends of Vellore

Christian Medical College

The College

The CMC was initially started as a medical school for women in 1918 by Dr. Ida Scudder. It was upgraded to a college in 1942. Men were admitted from 1947. At present it has an annual intake of 100 students for undergraduate degree (of which at least 25 are women) and postgraduate degree in various sub specialities.

Most of the students are sponsored by various church groups affiliated to CMC from various parts of India and are obliged to go back and serve at their respective mission hospitals for a period of time.

The training for nurses in CMC began in 1904. The undergraduate degree was started in 1967, soon followed Postgraduate degrees. 

Allied Health  The beginning of training in allied health field was in 1903 as an informal class for compounders. At present CMC offers diverse courses in 43 Allied Health Science programmes.

The Hospital Campuses

Today, after a spectacular expansion in recent years, CMC Vellore is a multi-speciality medical institution of international fame with nearly 3000 beds, spread over various campuses.

The Vellore Hospital campus in the middle of the Vellore city is the parent node of CMC. It offers a broad range of medical specialties, including advanced diagnostic and therapeutic services, alongside primary and secondary level care for local communities. It now includes the Paul Brand Block, an Orthopaedic facility.

The Ranipet Campus, a Level 1 trauma care centre and multi-speciality hospital, is the latest and the biggest extension of CMC. The campus began functioning on 17 August 2022, following its inauguration on 25 June 2022. During the COVID -19 crisis in 2021 it was used to provide emergency services. A state-of-the-art Paediatric centre is also being planned. Phase 1 will be completed in 2024.

The Chittoor Campus, on the southern border of Andhra Pradesh, 25 km from Vellore, has been offering medical services since 2011. The campus is now a rapidly expanding broad-speciality hospital which will soon have its own medical school.

Other centres in the CMC hospital network are:

  • The Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs (RUHSA). Located 23 km from Vellore, it and has become a model training centre for rural health care.
  • The Community Health and Development programme (CHAD). The epicentre of CMC’s community health programme. Situated next door to the College campus, it provides related training for medical and allied health students and PG trainees.
  • The Low-Cost Effective Care Unit (LCECU). Caters to the marginalised patients of Vellore and surrounding area. It provides the best medical care at the lowest cost possible for both outpatients and inpatients.
  • The Schell Eye Hospital
  • The Mental Health Centre
  • Rehab Institute Nabikkai Nilayam, catering to children with intellectual disability

The Friends of Vellore (FOV) groups have been in existence for almost 60 years. Currently there are active groups of FOV in various states of Australia – New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia. The groups in the different states are located in the capital cities and they work throughout the year in various ways to support Christian Medical College and Hospital at Vellore.

Ida Scudder founded The Christian Medical College and believed that it was a calling and a challenge set before her by God to begin a ministry to the health needs of the people of India, particularly women and children. Today the CMC is now one of the leading institutions in India, known all over the world for its excellence in clinical care, medical research and education.

The Australian Board of Vellore Christian College and Hospital was established in 1956 to co-ordinate the activities of the various state branches of Friends of Vellore. For many years the board was based around the Sydney Friends of Vellore. Over the years, the Board has evolved into a truly national organisation with representation from various states of the country.