U.S. physicians create medical campus in India

Now in its third year, the school is in its final phase of construction.

By Myrle Croasdale — Posted Dec. 26, 2005

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The medical campus for the Non-Resident Indian Medical College and General Hospital in southeast India is on target to complete its final phase of construction in 2006. Its leaders also plan to expand outreach efforts next year to patients with amputations or cleft palettes.

This is the third year the college and portions of the hospital have been open, and the initial excitement has yet to wane.

"Construction is almost done," said AppaRao Mukkamala, MD, chair of the radiology department at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich., and one of the school's five founding physicians. "We've spent many sleepless nights planning and worrying. Luckily, things are working out. It will all be worthwhile when we graduate good doctors."

By the end of 2006, the hospital will have 755 beds, and the 50-acre campus will be home to 1 million square feet of teaching and clinical space. To date, $22 million in private contributions have fueled this project, much of the money coming from U.S. physicians originally from the Andhra Pradesh area, where the school is based. The facility is the doctors' way of giving back to this predominantly poor community. Almost 90% of the medical care given is free, Dr. Mukkamala said.

The six-year medical program has a student body of 400, with 150 medical students in the first-year class. Training programs for nurses, medical technicians and other health care workers also are offered.

Faculty, students and visiting physicians already have had a big effect on the area, Dr. Mukkamala said. Recently, a weeklong effort, in collaboration with a prosthetics manufacturer, equipped 500 amputees with protheses. They plan to reach 1,500 amputees in 2006. A surgical team to repair cleft palettes also is being organized.

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