CMC History

A Bold Vision with Humble Beginnings

In 1890, a twenty-year-old American named Ida Sophia Scudder traveled to India to be with her ailing mother. Three men, a Muslim and two Hindus, arrived at her family’s home seeking emergency help for their wives who were having labor complications.  The three young husbands refused the assistance of Ida’s father, a Christian missionary doctor, because of prevailing caste and gender customs. Without any medical training, Ida was powerless to help. The next day, she learned that all three women had died.  After reflection and prayer, Ida felt that God was calling her to serve the women of India.

She returned to the U.S. to become a doctor, graduating in the first class that accepted women at Cornell Medical College in 1899.

Dr. Scudder returned to India in 1900 to begin her work. With a small gift of $10,000 from a man who wanted to memorialize his deceased wife, she immediately opened a one-bed clinic giving medical assistance to local women who had no other place to go for health care. 

By 1902, the 40-bed Mary Taber Schell Memorial Hospital was opened, beginning the realization of Ida’s vision – that women should have the same access to quality and compassionate healthcare that men did, regardless of religion or the ability to pay for it. 

She dedicated her life to this idea and her legacy continues to inspire people to join her cause.

That tiny clinic has grown into the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore – one of India’s most prestigious private hospitals and medical schools. Today, CMC cares for over two million patients and trains one thousand doctors, nurses and other medical professionals each year. 

A History of Firsts

CMC’s outreach and commitment to the underserved is complemented by its record of clinical excellence including many firsts in India (and in some cases, the world).

Firsts in India:

  • College of Nursing (1946)
  • Successful open heart surgery (1961)
  • Middle-ear microsurgery (1961)
  • Rehabilitation institute (1966)
  • Kidney transplant (1971)
  • First bone marrow transplant (1986)
  • First carotid bifurcation stenting procedure (1996)
  • Successful ABO incompatible renal transplant (2009)

Firsts in the World:

  • Reconstructive surgery on leprosy patients (1948)
  • Neurological Sciences Department in South Asia (1948)
  • Trans-septal carotid stenting procedure (1996)
  • Trans-jugular mitral valvuloplasty procedure (1996)

CMC was also ranked the number one private medical hospital in India in 2013 by India Today and consistently ranks as the number one hospital in India by consumers on