Founded in 1905, King George’s Medical University (KGMU) is a government-funded public hospital and medical educational institution in Northern India.
The university’s major activities may be grouped into three major thrust areas:
1. Medical Education
The university, since its foundation more than 100 years ago, has been focused on educating physicians and surgeons of the highest tier. Currently, it graduates more than 250 doctors (MBBS candidates) and 500 specialist doctors (residents/fellows) every year. It also graduates more than 100 dental surgeons annually as well. The institution’s medical university (school of medicine) regularly ranks among the top ten medical universities in India to train at, amongst the over 500 medical schools in India. In the last twenty years, KGMU has also been training a large number of nurses and paramedical staff to serve the nation.
2. Healthcare Delivery
KGMU is the flagship public hospital of the state of Uttar Pradesh, which is the most populous province in India with over 200 million inhabitants. Equipped with over 4000 beds, it is also the largest residential hospital in India. KGMU counts of more than a million outpatient hospital visits every year, and over 50,000 indoor admissions as well.
3. Biomedical Research
Finally, KGMU has long been one of the highest producers of biomedical research in India. Our focus is especially on clinical research, considering our large patient volumes. For instance, one of its faculty members has been the principal investigator the largest clinical trial in human history (conducted on over 2 million individuals). Many of its faculty have innovated in providing healthcare services, surgical operations, devices, or techniques.
About the University’s Civic Engagement Activities:
1. As a healthcare institution, we have always had a close relationship with the society around us. From the start, we have served as the main referral hospital of the state of Uttar Pradesh, along with serving large parts of the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, and the country Nepal. For large portions of the society around us, we act as an institution providing primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare access; considering our high-quality yet inexpensive services.
2. We annually organize major medical trips and charitable camps in rural and remote areas in order to bring healthcare access to the poor. The Department of Community Medicine has either adopted or brought under its ambit a large number of community health centers; in which it ensures quality healthcare services are delivered.
3. To ensure that the weakest strata of society have access to education, KGMU has long relied on an annually conducted transparent entrance examination. Around 0.1-0.5% of candidates are selected every year for medical school, after which their education is heavily subsidized. Students who can pay are asked to pay merely 350 USD per year in total, while those who cannot afford this get this funded through various sources.
4. To ensure equitable healthcare access, KGMU charges one of the lowest rates in the county for any major or minor healthcare service. The outpatient consultation rate per visit is currently 1 INR (0.02 USD); while the cost of a coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) for instance is around 8000 INR (100-120 USD). Charges of each procedure have long been publicly listed on our website, an initiative far preceding any such by most other healthcare institutions in the country.
5. As a healthcare institution, we perceive the challenge of inequitable access to healthcare as a critical challenge that India and other developing countries must tackle. While we have long been working to alleviate this through our main thrust areas of training high-quality doctors and delivering high-value care, we have also embraced innovative practices in this regard. For instance, to make our medical graduates cognizant of this challenge, we utilize a year-long longitudinal model of a close relationship with a poor family. Here, each graduate is paired up with a new-born delivered in our labor wards; and then is tasked to remain closely associated with the new-born and his/her family for a minimum period of one year. Our graduates find this experience humbling and report that this strengthens their desire to tackle the challenge of healthcare access.
6. We have been actively training our graduate and postgraduate doctors to take the lead in becoming lifelong community leaders and speak out on issues of expertise. As the flagship hospital of a state of 200 million individuals, our students benefit from our closeness with the administrative forces. This helps our graduates have the best opportunities for serving the country as medical leaders, often via Provincial Medical Services of the state of Uttar Pradesh.
7. We also train our graduates to ensure that they turn out to be doctors cognizant of the economic sustainability issues of poor families. For instance, while managing admitted patients, faculty members make it a point to question the postgraduate students on the value of an advanced imaging modality which the latter had requested, to diagnose those patients better. We teach our students to possess both: knowledge and skills to function in an advanced healthcare system, and the resourcefulness to thrive in economically challenged societies as well.
8. In cognizance of the fact that many of our students serve as medical professionals for underserved populations, we seek to inculcate a mindset of social responsibility and ‘giving back’ from day one. This is done both through didactic lectures emphasizing their responsibility and a medical care environment that never turns away any person because of financial difficulties.
9. Through several initiatives, funds, and grants, our in-training medical residents and fellows manage to ensure that patients requiring management but unable to pay for even our heavily subsidized healthcare services (let alone a large number of for-profit hospitals) get the care they deserve. Many of our graduates in private practice have historically waived charges from people unable to pay for a consultation.
10. Thus, in summary, we have had a long and continuing history of civic engagement in both the training and delivery of healthcare services.