Creating a country imbued with a scientific culture was Jawaharlal Nehru's dream, and immediately after independence he prepared a grand design to achieve it. Among the temples of modern India which he designed, was a centre of excellence in the medical sciences. Nehru's dream was that such a centre would set the pace for medical education and research in Southeast Asia , and in this he had the wholehearted support of his Health Minister, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur.
The health survey and development committee ,chaired by Sir Joseph Bhore, an Indian Civil Servant ,had in 1946 already recommended the establishment of a national medical centre which would concentrate on meeting the need for highly qualified manpower to look after the nation's expanding health care activities . The dreams of Nehru and Amrit Kaur and the recommendations of the Bhore Committee converged to create a proposal which found favor with the government of New Zealand. A generous grant from New Zealand under the Colombo Plan made it possible to lay the foundation stone of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in 1952.The AIIMS was finally created in 1956,as an autonomous institution through an Act of Parliament ,to serve as a nucleus for nurturing excellence in all aspect of health care.
All-India Institute of Medical Sciences was established as an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament with the objects to develop patterns of teaching in Undergraduate and Post-graduate Medical Education in all its branches so as to demonstrate a high standard of Medical Education in India; to bring together in one place educational facilities of the highest order for the training of personnel in all important branches of health activity; and to attain self-sufficiency in Post-graduate Medical Education.
The Institute has comprehensive facilities for teaching, research and patient-care. As provided in the Act, AIIMS conducts teaching programs in medical and para-medical courses both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and awards its own degrees. Teaching and research are conducted in 42 disciplines. In the field of medical research AIIMS is the lead, having more than 600 research publications by its faculty and researchers in a year. AIIMS also runs a College of Nursing and trains students for B.Sc.(Hons.) Nursing post-certificate) degrees.
The library, named after the first Director of the Institute, is a treasure house having 61423 books, 53547 journals and 14008 reports in the field of Biomedical Sciences. The library receives 490 journals and 80 newsletters every year. The library is open to the readers from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week. The library has a computer facility, microfilm library reader and reader-printer facility The rich and efficient is a potent force for energising our research activities.
At AIIMS research is not just a routine activity but rather a mission with three objectives. As anywhere else, the primary purpose of research is to gratify curiosity by disciplined activity, thereby leading to creation of new knowledge. But at AIIMS, we are also conscious of the role research can play in improving the quality of teaching. A teacher engaged in research is up to date with recent information, and can also inculcate a sprit of enquiry and freedom of thought into his/her students. Finally, research at AIIMS is apart of our national endeavour to cultivate a scientific temper and to eliminate from our society the way of authority and superstition.
There is a wide variety of research performed at AIIMS. On the one hand we do sophisticated investigations in the neurosciences, in genetics and on computer simulation of hormone-receptor interaction. On the other hand ,we undertake clinical and epidemiological studies on the prevention and treatment of national health problems. We are trying to apply advanced techniques such as DNA recombinant technology, immunology and electron microscopy to study the common diseases in our country such as leprosy, malaria , tuberculosis, diabetes, diarrhea, hepatitis, fluorosis and iodine deficiency. We have large internationally funded programmes on goals-oriented research in reproduction aimed at widening the variety of acceptable contraceptives.