This Month In Focus

The Evolution of Psychiatric Education at CMC, Vellore

The establishment of Mental Health Centre (MHC) at Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, in 1957, started a quiet revolution. A mental asylum within a residential college campus, open wards, and facilities for families to live with people with mental illness were unheard of in the 1950s.

Clinical exposure to people with mental illness and their families provided them context for the medical education and resulted in its training programs being regarded as excellent. In the late 1990s, some faculty realised that doctors trained by CMC did not seem to have adequate skills in managing psychiatric problems encountered in medical practice. Faculty members recommended changed formats, which centred on training them in general medical settings using physicians’ perspectives. These concepts published in the National Medical Journal of India (NMJI) in 1998 were dismissed as being utopian, both locally and nationally.