As someone with international roots, having grown-up in Sri Lanka, I understand the importance of cultural immersion and broadening one’s sphere of cultural experience. This will prove invaluable to my career as a doctor as I will constantly be interacting with individuals of cultures from all around the world.
Implementing a New Engineering Design Course in the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka
In collaboration with Duke Professors, Dr. Ann Saterbak and Dr. Eric Richardson, I am currently implementing an “Introduction to Engineering Design Course” at the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka. After many discussions with students and faculty from my homeland of Sri Lanka, I quickly realized the vastness of the disparity in educational and scientific resources between countries like Sri Lanka and the United States. I’ve been blessed with opportunity in this country and as someone who always dreams big, I wanted to share these resources with others to allow them to do the same. The course is aimed at third-year engineering undergraduate students to fully immerse them in design projects in collaboration with local clients. We are currently training local faculty to improve the foundation of the design instruction in their program in a long-term sustainable fashion; I hope to continue these efforts by developing a scientific internship program in Sri Lanka for high-achieving high school students with local laboratories and scientists doing research to instill a love for STEM in students from a young age. Building a passion for science in the youth is an important step for improving medicine as they will form the next generation of scientists and doctors who will guide scientific innovation and clinical care in the future.
BME Design Fellows Project
As discussed in the Entrepreneurship/Innovation component of my application, I will be working with medical professionals in Ethiopia as a part of BME Design Fellows. To create a successful design solution of the NICU Incubator, I will first have to understand the local context – both in terms of financing and locally available parts, but also cultural perspectives and expectations towards medicine and treatment. As a doctor, exposing oneself to a diversity of cultural approaches to medicine enhances the ability to adjust and adapt your mental framework to an individual patient’s perspective which opens the door for deeper genuine connections and improved medical care.