Prof Athula Sumathipala, Professor of Psychiatry in the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences was honoured to be awarded the 54th Sir Marcus Fernando Oration of the Sri Lanka Medical Association for 2014, on 16-17th October at the Oak-Ray Regency Hotel in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) brings together medical practitioners of all grades and all branches of medicine. The SLMA is the oldest professional medical association in Asia and Australasia, with a proud history dating from 1887. At its inception, it was called the 'Ceylon Branch of the British Medical Association'. However, it later evolved into the 'Ceylon Medical Association' (1951) and subsequently became the 'Sri Lanka Medical Association', after Sri Lanka became a Republic in 1972. The Sir Marcus Fernando Oration on the history of the SLMA is presented annually.
Prof Sumathipala's oration, ‘Depression: Addressing the Local Burden in the Context of Global Mental Health’, is based mainly on the first ever national mental health survey (2007) commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. Seven peer reviewed papers in high impact international journals were presented, including one paper containing data from a large twin and singleton epidemiological study in the Colombo district, another describing a collaborative training and capacity building program between Sri Lanka and Australia and a paper pertaining to stigma, obtained from a study carried out in 16 countries including Sri Lanka.
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