The institute signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of California, San Diego, today on sharing technical expertise and other resources for a medical school and hospital to come up on its campus.
The country’s oldest IIT will also be the first tech school to offer bachelors, masters, doctoral and post-doctoral degrees in medicine and surgery. Director Damodar Acharya said the project would kick off with a 350-bed hospital, which should be ready by 2011.
The school will come up following the Medical Council of India’s clearance. “We can announce its intake capacity after we get the MCI clearance,” said an official.
Both the medical school and the hospital will draw on technical expertise from California University. The collaboration will include faculty, student and resident exchange programmes and jointly supervised clinical trials.
“Most people give up biology when they opt to study engineering and those who want to become doctors drop math. But there can’t be progress in medicine without technology. Our aim is to bridge the gap,” said Acharya.
The US varsity will assist the IIT in formulating the curriculum for the undergraduate and postgraduate courses so it meets the accreditation requirements in both India and America. “We will now have to draw up the road map and execute the project in a time-bound manner,” said Tom McAfee, its dean of clinical affairs.
Initial estimates suggest the project will require an investment in excess of Rs 200 crore. “We want to use the public-private partnership model and have had talks with various players in the healthcare industry,” Acharya said.
The IIT had earlier planned a medical research centre and laid its foundation stone amid fanfare in 2007, but the project remained a non-starter. Following the death of third-year student Rohit Kumar this March and allegations of negligence at the institute’s crumbling BC Roy Hospital, the authorities promised an overhaul of the facilities.
“The project will be a boon not only for the students but also for the region, where health care facilities are primitive,” said a third-year student.