KARUNARATNE, Prof Leela de A
Sri Lanka- Family medicine leader
WONCA President elect, Prof Amanda Howe met Prof Leela in Sri Lanka this year and describes her as the 'grandmother' of Family Medicine in Sri Lanka. WONCA News thanks Dr Shyamale Samaranayaka for interviewing Prof Leela for this feature.
Brief description of my working life.
I graduated in April 1954 and spend an year of mandatory clinical training, there after I was employed in state hospitals up to April 1957, when I resigned and joined a group general practice in the private sector, where I worked up to 1965, where I established a single handed family Practice in Moratuwa. I have now completed 50 year as a Family Doctor and still continue to be of service to patients.
Interesting activities I have been involved in during my career
• I continued medical education obtaining postgraduate qualification in Sri Lanka and UK. (DCH-cey, -1970;MRCGP UK-1974;Elected FRCGP 1986;MD Family Medicine SL-1992)
• In 1974 I was admitted to the College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka and later elected a fellow. Since then up-to-date I have been actively involved in college activities
• In 1980, I was in a group of pioneers who established Family Medicine as a discipline in the postgraduate Institute of Medicine , Colombo , and served for over 30 years.
• I pioneered the inclusion of Family Medicine in the undergraduate curriculum of the Faulty of Medical Sciences at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and set up a model Family Practice Centre for service, teaching and research. Teaching undergraduate progressed steadily and now we have a Department of Family Medicine.
• I have participated as an invited speaker in other countries. The highlights were being invited as plenary speaker to the 11th WONCA world conference in UK in 1986 and to the 13th WONCA world conference in Vancouver, Canada in 1992.
• In 2016 I ventured to accept the role of being an advisor to the Steering Committee of WONCA SAR 2016 conference. My advisory role developed in to one of mentoring.
I have not been given a chance to retire by my patients and my professional organization. I continue to be of service to patients, specially those who have been under my care for a long period, and I have become a ‘think tank’ to my professional colleagues.
I do not know whether I really want to retire.
My interests in Medicine
• To continue medical education and to learn the realities of life
• T o inspire professional colleagues and to let my mind be activated by the thinking of younger colleagues.
• To care for people both medically and personally, when they seek help, and guide them through the medical maze of the present day.
My interests in life
• Being methodical and organized in my work.
• Keeping the environment clean
• Culinary arts
• Listening to music