Schieffelin Institute of Health – Research and Leprosy Centre (SIH-R & LC) located near Vellore in Tamil Nadu, was established in 1955 to care for the leprosy patients in and around Vellore and to set up a research institution to probe into the multifaceted problems of leprosy. Dr. Robert Cochrane was the moving force behind this venture.
A plot of land, 15 km from Christian Medical College (CMC) hospital, Vellore and 4 km from any approach road, was obtained from the Government. With the close cooperation of The Leprosy Mission (TLM) and the American Leprosy Missions (ALM) and CMC, the project gradually materialized.
The Institute is named in honor of Mr. William J Schieffelin, the then President of the ALM, which funded the building project. Dr. Ida Scudder, the founder of CMC, turned the sod on 6th September 1952. Mr. William Bailey, Secretary of Southern Asia TLM, supervised the programme. The buildings were completed and the Schieffelin Leprosy Research Sanatorium (as it was then known) was declared open on 20th June 1955.
The Schieffelin Leprosy Research Sanatorium was renamed as the Schieffelin Leprosy Research & Training Centre in 1974. The institution was registered as a company in 1977 and became independent from all three founding organizations.
Leprosy services were integrated into general health services in 1997. In 2006, in order to reflect the integrated nature of the institution, the institution was renamed as Schieffelin Institute of Health – Research and Leprosy Centre (SIH-R & LC).
Over the past six decades SIH-R & LC has treated leprosy and its complications, carried out state of the art research to understand the disease, and trained all levels of health personnel in the management of leprosy.