International Journal of Ethics Education

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 97–107 | Cite as

Looking back– looking forward: ethics finds its place in the medical curriculum in India

  • J. Tom MishaelEmail author
  • Mario Vaz
  • Olinda Timms


The formal oversight of medical education in India occurred with the promulgation of the Indian Medical Degrees Act in 1916. Despite an awareness of the need to train ethical doctors and the formal discussion of this as early as 1955, the formal teaching of medical ethics has been restricted to a few colleges as it has not been part of a mandated requirement. In August, 2019, all medical colleges in India will adopt a new Medical Council of India mandated curriculum. An embedded AETCOM (Attitude, Ethics and Communication) module across all years of training is a part of this curriculum and is the first attempt to introduce medical ethics uniformly in close to 500 medical colleges in the country. This paper traces the historical attempts to include medical ethics in medical education in India, and describes the current plan to implement ethics teaching in the undergraduate medical curriculum in India.


Medical ethics India Curriculum History 



This project was done as part of a Student Fellowship in the History of Medicine instituted by Prof Waltraud Ernst, Professor in the History of Medicine, c.1700-2000, School of History, Philosophy and Culture, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, U.K.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Graduate, St. John’s Medical College; RMOKaruna Bhavan HospitalKottayam districtIndia
  2. 2.Department of Physiology; Head, Health and HumanitiesSt. John’s Research InstituteBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.Division of Health and HumanitiesSt. John’s Research InstituteBangaloreIndia

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