The Department of Community Medicine at AFMC was established on 01 May 1948, as the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine with Lt Col TD Chablani as its first Professor & Head. Over the years, the Department has established itself as an important Centre of learning for graduates and post-graduate medical students and imparts training to physicians and paramedical personnel in the practice of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.
Since its inception, the Department of Community Medicine has grown into one of the largest departments of AFMC, with involvement in the field of teaching, research, consultancy and medico-social activities. The Dept of Community Medicine has the singular honour of being the only Dept in a Medical College in our country which awards four medical postgraduate degrees viz. MD (PSM), PhD, DIH and DPH. It is also a collaborative centre with ICMR for MPH course, which places the dept in an enviable position vis-à-vis any other Medical College in India. It has trained more than 5000 MBBS students and has awarded 235 MD degrees, one PhD degree and almost 100 DPH and DIH degrees. A unique distinction of the department is that six of its illustrious faculty members rose to become the Commandant / Dean of this prestigious institution. A number of civilian postgraduates from this department have occupied senior positions in the Health Services of Maharashtra.
The department is actively involved in various research projects under the aegis of DGAFMS, DRDO, & ICMR. The Epidemiology and Biostatistics Division and the Medical Research Committee (MRC) Cell offer expertise in designing research projects, bioethics and advanced statistical analyses not only for the college but also for the entire Armed Forces Medical Services. The department coordinates the activities of the Army AIDS Control Organisation (ACO), Armed Forces Epidemiological Surveillance Centre (AFCESC) and Central Disease Registry (CDR) of the Armed Forces. The Dept has the unique distinction of hosting two referral centres of the Armed Forces, the Entomology Division which is the referral Centre for all entomological matters pertaining to the Armed Forces; and the Public Health Laboratory which is a referral centre for testing water quality, poison testing and detection and monitoring of trace elements. The Entomology division also maintains a live hatchery of vectors of public health importance, conducts trials of hygiene-chemicals for use in the Armed Forces and has initiated geographical mapping of vectors in various military stations in the country. The public health museum of the department is the biggest of its kind in South-East Asia. It was established in 1944 and over the years has constantly been upgraded and appreciated as an invaluable teaching aid by eminent medical personalities from India and abroad. The museum draws students from schools and colleges all over the country and distinguished visitors from abroad who appreciate the professional display of information on different subjects of the practice of Public health. The museum depicts various models and educational material of contemporary nature as well as advancements in health science over the years in the World with particular emphasis on the practice of public health and preventive medicine in Armed Forces. The Dept has also established a lifestyle disease gallery and a museum of entomology to increase awareness on these important issues among its students and the community.