(Courtesy official website of the Student Medical Journal of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo).
What was the initial period like?
My choice was to specialize in the medical side rather than the surgical side, since surgery never attracted me. I graduated at the top of my batch and so I had the opportunity to get my choice of appointment for internship. I chose the professorial medicine unit for the first 6 months under Professor K. Rajasuriya and for the next 6 months, to the surprise of many, I chose to work under Dr. P.R. Anthonis, as working with the professor of surgery at that time you were more a clerk than anything else. To this date I believe I made the correct choice. Initially the unit had a SHO, but he left during my 2 nd month and I had to take on his role as well. I had a lot of responsibility, which I enjoyed thoroughly.
How did you become an academic?
After my internship, I served at the Chest Hospital, Welisara for a period of nine months. During this time two vacancies were advertised at the Colombo Medical Faculty; Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Pathology and Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Paediatrics. I applied for both posts because I always liked the academic setting. The interviews for the post in Pathology were first, and to this date I'm thankful to Prof. Gerry Cooray for not selecting me!
A lady who had seen this documentary was interested in donating £250,000 for a health development project. They contacted me, but I was on sabbatical leave, and the project was awarded to the disability studies unit of the Colombo North Medical Faculty. The money was used to start a diploma course to train speech therapists, and as a direct result, we now have nearly 60 speech therapists in Sri Lanka.
Any special message to our students?
And if you are sure of yourself, stand your ground!