Sri Lanka

Clinical training opens doors to health research

DGHI's primary partner in Sri Lanka is the University of Ruhuna Faculty of Medicine in Galle. Galle was severely affected by the 2004 tsunami, which was an initial impetus for the Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health (HYC) to develop epidemiological and clinical research. Since then, HYC and DGHI have facilitated bidirectional collaboration on health-related research and student/clinician training exchanges. Global health research has expanded to include projects related to infectious diseases, community and family medicine, mental health, and social and economic development. HYC and DGHI have established the Ruhuna-Duke Centre for Infectious Diseases (RDCID) as an official Centre of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ruhuna, which will facilitate new collaborations and open new avenues for funding and research.

The University of Ruhuna Faculty of Medicine hosts diverse learning opportunities for Duke trainees, fellows, residents and students who seek clinical electives or locally mentored, field-based research. In 2018, DGHI partnered with the Duke Global Education Office, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Ruhuna to develop a study abroad program for undergraduate students, which focused on addressing problems related to health and health disparities in a global context. Our partnerships also allow Duke Physician Assistant students to perform clinical rotations in Galle. Duke also regularly hosts Sri Lankan researchers and officials as part of our commitment to fostering bidirectional exchange. 

Key Faculty

Truls Ostbye

Truls Ostbye

Vice Chair (Research), Community and Family Medicine

Chris Woods

Chris Woods

Executive Director, Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health


  • University of Ruhuna Faculty of Medicine
  • Karapitiya Teaching Hospital
  • University of Amsterdam Academic Medical Center
  • Duke Kunshan University
  • Duke-NUS Medical School
  • Ministry of Health
  • University of Jaffna
  • University of Peradeniya

Duke Entities

DGHI centers: 

  • Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health


  • Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Pratt School of Engineering
  • School of Medicine (Community and Family Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Pathology, Physician Assistant Program)

Other units: 

  • Global Education Office

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PCR Machine Training
Dr. Brad Nicholson (center) of Duke trains Sri Lankan researchers and lab staff on using the new PCR machine. (L to R) Ruvini Kurukulasooriya (Duke-Ruhuna Collaboration program manager), Dr. Nayani Weerasinghe, Nicholson, Dr. Ajith Nagahawatte and Nishantha Gunasekara (technical officer performing the PCR analysis).