CHRISTIAN MEDICAL COLLEGE VELLORE
Not to be ministered unto but to minister

The CMC Story

How it all began  
 
Born in South India in 1870, Ida Scudder, the founder of CMC Vellore, spent most of her childhood in the US and was educated there. Although her grandparents, parents and most other members of her extended family had served as missionaries in India, this was not the life that she wanted for herself. However, one night, while visiting her parents at their home in India, her life was turned around. 

Three well-to-do men came to the house one after the other, with the same desperate story. Each of them had a young wife in the throes of childbirth, but unable to deliver. The traditional midwife had been unable to help. Would the young mistress come and help deliver the baby? Ida had no medical training at that point, and suggested that her doctor-father should go. However, owing to the social and religious customs of the day, each of these men went away sadly, saying that it was impossible for another man to see their wives. With no doctor to look after them, these three women and their babies all died that night. Ida took this as a clear signal from God that she should strive to help the women and children of India.
(Read the story of 'The Three Knocks' in Ida's own words below

She returned to the US to study as a doctor, graduating from Cornell University Medical College in 1899, among the first batch of women. She started her medical work in Vellore in 1900, using one room in her parents’ bungalow as a one-bedded clinic-cum-dispensary. 

In view of her earlier experience, her focus was on women and children; at that time there were hardly any women doctors in India. Gradually her reputation grew and with it, the demand for her services. In 1902, she opened the 40-bedded Mary Taber Schell Memorial Hospital, built using funds donated in the USA. In 1924, a new 267-bedded hospital was opened in the centre of Vellore, which has continued to expand there ever since. 

Right from the beginning, Ida Scudder knew that she could have little impact working on her own, and her vision was not just to treat, but also to train others. So she began teaching 'compounders' (modern day pharmacists) and nurses. The first formal nursing course was started over a hundred years ago, in 1909. Medical training for women began in 1918 with a Licensed Medical Practitioner course. In 1942, the MBBS degree course was started and in 1947, the College became fully co-educational.