The need for a teaching and research Institute in chest diseases was spelt out in the Bhore Committee Report (Ministry of Health) by highlighting an acute paucity of trained personnel in the specialty of chest diseases in the country. The Directorate of Ministry of Health, Government of India, therefore, approached Sir Maurice Gwyer, the then Vice-Chancellor, University of Delhi, to start a course in chest diseases at the earliest.



In 1946, the Committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor for this purpose recommended the establishment of a Chest Institute. A proposal to this effect was accordingly formulated by the Vice-Chancellor and submitted to the Government. Utilizing the teaching and training facilities of the Lady Hardinge Medical College, Irwin and Silver Jubilee Hospitals in Delhi, a diploma course in chest diseases was started in 1947 with Dr. R. Viswanathan, the then Deputy Director General, Health Services, Government of India, as the Honorary Director of the course.


Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the then Deputy Prime Minister of India, laid the foundation stone of the Institute on 6th April 1949. Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, the then Union Minister of Health, formally opened the Institute on 12th January 1953 and Dr. R. Viswanathan was appointed as the first Director, VPCI. The hospital wing, Viswanathan Chest Hospital [formerly known as Clinical Research Centre (CRC)], was started around 1956. It was inaugurated by the then President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 24th October 1957.