Professor Dulitha N Fernando | 1944 – 2021
“It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing away of our much loved teacher, mentor, colleague, friend, and former Dean Emeritus Professor Dulitha N Fernando. “
Emeritus Professor Dulitha Nandani Fernando was a professional par excellence and an outstanding figure in the field of Public Health in Sri Lanka. She graduated from the University of Ceylon in 1968 and joined the University of Colombo as a young academic in 1970. She obtained her Diploma in Tropical Public Health (1973) and Ph.D. in Public Health Nutrition (1976) both from University of London. She served as Head of the Department of Community Medicine from 1984 to 2005 and as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 2005 to 2008. At the time of her retirement in 2010, she was the Chair and Senior Professor of Community Medicine.
Professor Fernando was a dedicated and conscientious teacher who has taught many generations of undergraduate as well as postgraduate students in community medicine. She is fondly remembered by students for her unique style of teaching.
She had been the Chairperson of the Research and Higher Degrees Committee in the Faculty of Medicine from 1993 to 1999 and had also been a member of the Planning and Development Committee and Board of Management of the Development Studies Institute of the University of Colombo. She gave leadership as dean to commence the Physiotherapy Degree Programme at the Faculty of Medicine.
As an outstanding health professional, Professor Fernando served as the Chairperson of the Board of Study in Community Medicine of the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo from 1992 to 2000. Her contribution to the development of curricula of the training programmes both in Community Medicine and other relevant specialties is highly commendable.
She was the Founder President of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka in 1996/97. In addition, she has been the President of several other professional associations, such as the Sri Lanka Association for Advancement of Science (SLAAS), the Nutrition Society of Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka Association of Community Medicine. She had served in varying capacities in national and international committees of the Ministry of Health, WHO, UNFPA, World Bank, USAID, SIDA, and UNICEF.
Professor Fernando has won several awards for excellence in teaching and research. Her outstanding track record in research has contributed immensely for translating public health evidence into practice in Sri Lanka. In recognition of her work, she had been the recipient of prestigious fellowships, including those from the Sri Lanka Medical Association, National Academy of Sciences and the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka.
May she attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana!