December 08, 2010

Medical courses: IIT waits for Parliament nod

It will not be long before doctors walk out with MBBS, MS and MD degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Plans are afoot to table a bill to amend the existing statute of the IITs to allow them to introduce medical studies. "Till now, we had churned out efficient engineers. Now, we will also be committed to producing world-class doctors," said IIT Kharagpur's deputy director, A N Mazumdar.

If the Parliament passes the proposed legislation changing IITs' statutes, then IIT-Kgp will be the first among the six IITs to set up a medical school. In its draft proposal submitted to the ministry of human resources development, IIT speaks about introducing postgraduate courses in technology oriented medical education.

"Our strength is technology-driven research. We have thus laid emphasis on introducing technology oriented medical education. We had initially planned to start postgraduate courses like MS and MD. However, due to guidelines and restrictions of the Medical Council of India ( MCI), we will also introduce MBBS courses. Under the guidelines, we can only start a postgraduate programme in medicine if we have an undergraduate programme as well," added another senior professor of the institute.

Students will be admitted to the MBBS course in three phases over the next five years. "In each phase, we will take 50 students for the undergraduate medical course. There are a few options for admitting students. One is to introduce a biology paper in the existing IIT-JEE exam. Another is to admit students through the All India Pre Medical Test. It has not yet been decided and a final call will be taken soon. Once the approval is given, other modalities will be chalked out," said Mazumdar.

Some unique medical technology which will be top priorities for the medical school at IIT-Kgp will be medical teleconsultation, developing sophisticated technology for distant surgeries, usage of hepatic devices, introduction of genetics and genomics in medicine and drug designs. "There is a unique genetic sequence in every individual. Through drug designing, each person with an ailment will be given a particular class of medicines that best suit him or her. This will not be like prescribing general antibiotics. Each drug will be designed for each one," explained Mazumdar.

Another important aspect of the proposed medical school is research on bio-prosthetics and development of alternate material to polymers which are currently used as well as haemodinamic simulations.

IIT-Kgp in the midst of consultation with several renowned medical colleges and hospitals in the country and the US to seek help for faculty as and when the proposal to set up the medical college is sanctioned. "A state of art medical education programme where technology will play the lead role is our aim. We will recruit the best medical teachers in the country in order to impart lessons," concluded Mazumdar.

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