Jubilee celebrations of Faculty of Medicine, Peradeniya; 50 years in Medical Education


Continued from yesterday

By Dr Ananda Jayasinghe

(Alumnus- 1978 admission Cohort)

Former Head, Department of Community Medicine
Faculty of Medicine
University of Peradeniya & Past President, Kandy Society of Medicine

Continued from yesterday

There are many Academic Staff members of Faculty of Medicine, Peradeniya who have made very significant contributions to the other medical faculties.

Prof C Sivagnanasundaram, then Senior Lecturer in Community medicine at Peradeniya left for Jaffna to become the first Professor of Community Medicine. Prof M Sivasuriya left for Jaffna to become the first Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (currently, the Chancellor of University of Jaffna)

Prof Jayantha Jayawardene (Alumus – then Senior Lecturer) left Peradeniya to become the first Professor of Obs. & Gynaecology of Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenapura.

Dr T Varagunam, former Professor of Medicine, Peradeniya – later became the Chancellor of Eastern University of Sri Lanka and Dr P T Jayawickramarajah (former Director / Medical Education Unit, Peradeniya) have helped in great deal, the staff deprived Faculty of Medicine of Eastern University in its academic programme.

Currently former professors from Peradeniya are providing stability and invaluable services to the Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences of Saliyapura/ Anuradhapura. They are; Prof D B Nugegoda (Community Medicine) Prof P A J Perera (Biochemistry) Prof Sarath Edirisinghe & Prof D J Weilgama (Parasitology)

Contributions to national academic bodies

There were many alumni of Faculty of Medicine, Peradeniya who became the presidents of Professional organizations, Some of them are; Prof Nimal Senanayake – past President of Sri Lanka Medical Association(SLMA), Dr W D H Perera – founder President of Sri Lanka College of Dermatologists, Prof Channa Ratnatunga – past President of College of Surgeons, Professor Neelakanthi Ratnatunga – past President of Sri Lanka College of Pathologists, Prof Vasanthi Thevanesam – past President of Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists, Prof Pushpa Jayawardene – past President of Sri Lanka College of Community Physicians,

Prof Ananda Wijekoon, Prof Chandra Abeysekera, past Presidents of Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians, Dr Maithree Rajapakse – past President of Sri Lanka College of Anaesthesiologists, Prof Jayantha Jayawardene – Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. Dr I N A Gunarathne and Dr S V Alahakoon – past Presidents of Sri Lanka College of Radiologists.

Prof Chula Goonasekera – Founder President of Sri Lanka Society of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, Dr Jagath Wijesekera, Dr Padma Gunaratne,(past Presidents) and Prof Sarath Lekamwasm – current President of Ceylon College of Physicians, Dr Ananda Samarasinghe – past President of Forensic Pathologists of Sri Lanka and once a powerful President of GMOA. Dr Sarath Wattegama – past President of Sri Lanka College of Oncologists. Dr K L Fernando - the current President of Sri Lanka College of Surgeons.

Three academic staff members of Faculty of Medicine, Peradeniya were appointed Vice Chancellors of University of Peradeniya. Prof Malcolm Fernando, Prof R G Panabokke (later became the Director of Postgraduate Institute of Medicine Colombo and the Chancellor of University of Peradeniya) and Prof Arjuna Aluwihare later became the Chairman of the University of Grants Commission (UGC) and Prof. Harischandra Abeygunawardena (past Dean of Faculty of Veterinary medicine & Animal Sciences, alumnus – pre 1980) became the Vice Chancellor of University of Peradeniya. Prof Ranjith Mendis (alumnus-pre 1980) past Dean of Faculty of Dental Sciences, subsequently became the Chairman of the UGC.

Dr Reggie Perera and Dr Athula Kahandaliyanage, two alumni of the faculty served as Director General of Health Services and later became permanent secretaries to the Ministry of Health. At present, Dr Palitha Mahipala (alumnus) serves as the Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Health.

There are many overseas based eminent persons who are alumni of the faculty playing very prominent roles at international level, bringing honour to the faculty, university and the country. Prof Malik Sriyal Peiris from the University of Hong Kong (once an academic staff member of Peradeniya, a well known virologist, who was directly involved in the identification of the virus during the SARS epidemic that swept through the world in early 2003.

Dr Palitha Abeykoon(from the first batch), Ex-Director WHO regional office based in New Delhi, India served well with distinction. Another alumnus, Prof Shanthi Mendis, former Professor in Medicine joined the WHO. She is now based in Geneva as Senior Advisor Cardiovascular Diseases / WHO and has been a tower of strength to the faculty and Sri Lanka.

The Faculty of Medicine, Peradeniya, has been very actively engaged in research and produces a large number of research papers, well over 150 annually, presented at the Academic sessions of Kandy Society of Medicine, Peradeniya University Research Sessions, International Congress of PeMSSA , SLMA etc and many research papers are published in international journals. High quality research activity is reflected by the large number of postgraduate students, registered at our faculty (through University of Peradeniya).

Further, there is an excellent demand shown by the postgraduate trainees of the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, Colombo for various disciplines.

Although the principal mission of the faculty is to produce well balanced quality doctors, the faculty has produced award winning artistes in the field art/cinema. Prof Nimal Senanayake, current Senior Professor of Medicine, alumnus, who has produced award winning scripts for a number of tele dramas and together with another alumnus, Dr W P Somasiri, entered the silver screen by producing the award winning film ‘Sankranthee’ (The Tender Trap)

With the establishment of the second Medical School in Peradeniya in 1961, an academic and professional organization was born in 1964, due to pioneering efforts of Dr T Varagunam, Mr R Rasaretnam (former Consultant Cardio- thoracic Surgeon) and Dr Kolitha Karunaratne. This was named Kandy Society of Medicine, popularly known as KSM. Since then it has very actively contributed to medical education of our country.

In view of the Jubilee celebrations of the faculty, the current President of the Kandy Society of Medicine - Prof Chandrika Jayasinghe (alumnus) and the Council have decided to advance its Bibile Memorial Oration in January 2012. (The inauguration ceremony of the 34th Annual Academic Sessions will be held on in February 2012 as scheduled).

The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Peradeniya, Dr Gamini Buthpitiya has been invited to deliver the prestigious Bibile Memorial Oration 2012.

The first Alumni Association of a medical faculty (Peradeniya Medical School Alumni Association - PeMSAA) was established in 1992 due to the dedication of past alumni of the faculty during the deanship of Prof Malcolm Fernando. The first President was Dr Joel Fernando and the first Congress chairman of the 1st International Medical Congress of PeMSAA was Dr W D H Perera (both were from the first batch).

As mentioned at the beginning, the President – Prof Neelakanthi Ratnatunga, the Congress Chairperson- Prof Chandra Abeysekera and the council of the Peradeniya Medical School Alumni Association have decided to hold its 11th International Medical Congress alone with the Jubilee Celebrations of the faculty. Prof Malik Sriyal Peiris (alumnus) will grace the occasion as the Chief Guest. Dr Joel Fernando (alumnus - first President of PeMSAA) as the Guest of Honour. Another eminent researcher and Neurologist, Prof Nimal Senanayake (alumnus – Current Senior Professor of Medicine) will deliver the prestigious Congress Lecture.

The decision to invite two alumni as Chief Guest and Guest of Honour at the 11th International Congress deserves full appreciation.

Therefore, the Faculty of Medicine, Peradeniya as a premier institution in medical education in our country has many reasons to be proud of what it has delivered to nation over the past five decades.

I sincerely wish that the Jubilee celebrations of Faculty of Medicine, will be truly colorful and memorable for all of us who care and love our alma mater.


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