The vast, modern medical complex known today as the Christian Medical College & Hospital in Vellore, India, began as the response of an American missionary, Ida Sophia Scudder, to a dramatic encounter with the suffering of Indian women. In one night three local women died in childbirth because customs of the time prohibited their being treated by a male doctor. Returning to the US, Ida Scudder received her medical training and returned to India in 1900 to open a one-bed clinic in the town of Vellore. Soon she began training Indian women in the medical arts, beginning a School of Nursing in 1909, an institution which is today highly regarded for its standards of excellence in nursing education. Similarly, "Aunt Ida's" medical school for women, which started in 1918 and began admitting men in 1947, is today regarded as one of India's leading medical educational institutions. CMC&H is unique in being a leading institution in teaching, technology and research, at the same time ministering to the needs of the disadvantaged through subsidized care and a wide range of community based health programs which are integrated with efforts to provide socio-economic development. The Vellore CMC Board, incorporated in 1948, represents the interests of CMC&H in the United States.
In addition to funding for health care programs for women and children, the Vellore Board administers grants from USAID/ASHA on behalf of CMC&H, sponsors fellowships for CMC&H staff professionals to pursue advanced study, supports scholarships for medical, nursing and allied health students, solicits gifts-in-kind, and facilitates the volunteer program at CMC&H for health care professionals and the Elective Program for medical students at CMC.