Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth: Redefining Medical Education

By Prof. K.R. Sethuraman, Vice-Chancellor
Prof. K.R. Sethuraman,Vice-Chancellor

Prof. K.R. Sethuraman

Vice-Chancellor

Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth(SBV) was established with the objective of bringing about a qualitative and quantitative revolution in Health Profession Education and research by evolution and innovation with the aim of creating a force of competent health care professionals. Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth was conferred the status of Deemed to be University with effect from 4 August 2008. Presently, the deemed university comprises of four institutions or constituent colleges viz. Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute(MGMCRI),Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute(SSSMCRI), Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences (IGIDS)and Kasturba Gandhi Nursing College(KGNC).

Situated amidsta serene and lush green environment in rural Pondicherry, the deemed university welcomes900 students annually, covering courses under the regulatory agencies governing medical, dental and nursing education. "The courses offered to the students range from undergraduate to doctoral levels, including those courses under faculty of Allied Health Sciences, which runs several innovative and job oriented courses. We strive to present a variety of medical(health professional)courses to the students, where they are open to decide upon specialization, according to their respective interests,"opines Prof.K.R. Sethuraman, Vice-Chancellor, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth.

SBV in its decennial year has achieved several laurels and appreciation from its peer educational establishments and other organizations for delivering high-quality instruction. Besides this, The National Institutional Ranking Framework(NIRF)has ranked SBV amongst the Top 100 Universities in the country for two consecutive years of ranking, viz. 2016 and
2017 and was accredited with Grade "A" by National Assessment and Accreditation Council(NAAC), based on the NAAC peer committee review held during November 2015.

"Till date, SBV has received Rs. 5crores funding from External agencies and the trust has spent nearly Rs.2 crores in propagating research in the form of seed money, research and travel grants"

Research as the Priority
Promoting research activities in the realms of medical education framework, the deemed university focuses primarily on two areas of research viz. research in the frontiers and advancing fields of medicine and emerging areas related to complementary and alternative systems of medicine in India. There are three state-of-the-art research centres housed in the campus called Central Interdisciplinary Research Facility (CIDRF),Center for Music Therapy Education & Research (CMTER), and Center for Yoga Therapy, Education and Research (CYTER)fostering indigenous research activities. In addition, a fully equipped Centre of Health Professions is in place. Having begun with a humble 17 publications at the end of 2008 (year of inception), SBV now boasts of 3800 publications in National and International journals of which over 75 percent are in indexed journals. "As of September 2017, 294 faculty and 160 student projects have been completed, besides 508 ongoing projects,"claims Prof.N. Anantha krishnan, Dean(Research and
Allied Health Sciences).

"The idea is to emerge as a premier and graded Health Sciences University, which is only possible if we give greater credence to novel academic programmes, evidence based research works, since medicine as a discipline is synonymous with innovations and knowledge is the key to success," shares Prof. A.R. Srinivasan, Registrar. Till date, SBV has received Rs.5 crores funding from External agencies and the trust has spent nearly Rs. 2 crores in propagating research in the form of seed money, research and travel grants.

A Transformative Learning Platform
"As we are determined to bring a change in the present medical education, we have embraced several unique learning approaches,
which we believe has proved beneficial to our students,"claims Prof. M.Ravishankar, Dean,Faculty of Medicine. To nurture the students in realizing their goals, SBV has integrated teaching techniques such as STEPS(Student-centric, Trans disciplinary Experiential, Problem-oriented and Self directed curriculum) and COBALT(Competency Based Learning and Training Program), within the variety of courses the University offers. Hence, in accomplishing these innovative academic endeavours, the role of the 600 plus faculty members serving in the deemed university is firmly undeniable.

During this entire teaching-learning process, the deemed University is conferring equal respect to every student and has addressed the students who do not perform well in exams as 'Students Needing Additional Curricular Support SNACS)'instead of referring them as slow learners."We do not want to let any student become a victim of partiality. First, we recognize the students who require special care and consequently assign an individual counselor to each student, in addition to tailored educational intervention,” says Prof.M. Ravishankar.

Setting Parameters for Future
The deemed University is endowed with the presence of established channels that allow effective communication, stable partnerships, and large networks. SBV has international collaboration with Ruskin University; Partners medical International, Harvard Boston for undergraduate students exchange program, Quest International University(QUIP), Perak, Malaysia for collaboration in Training and Research, CIDRF to discover and develop novel anti-cancer therapeutics and the list hardly gets an end.

Considered as one of the paramount destinations for pursuing health sciences education, SBV is growing by leaps and bounds through its consistency in generating future ready professionals. "Being a young university, we are more flexible in undertaking new approaches compared to others. Now, we are confident that our deemed University will be able to positively impact the future of healthcare in India,"concludes Prof. Srinivasan.