The Department of Forensic Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya was established in 1992 when the first batch of medical students entered their 3rd year of study. Forensic Medicine teaching and training for medical students was conducted in the 3rd year of study till the Faculty adopted an organ-system based integrated curriculum in 2004. At present, the Legal Medicine and Toxicology module is taught in the 4th year first term with parallel clinical training at the Colombo North Teaching Hospital.
The Department was recognized as a postgraduate training centre of the Post-graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM) of the University of Colombo in 1996 and postgraduate trainees undergo their pre-DLM (Diploma in Legal Medicine), pre MD (Forensic Medicine) and post MD training in Forensic Medicine under the supervision of Department academics. So far 13 board certified specialists in Forensic Medicine of PGIM have been trained at the Department.
At present the Department has four Senior Lecturers who are Board Certified Specialists in Forensic Medicine and seven non-academic members. The undergraduate and postgraduate clinical training is provided through Colombo North Teaching Hospital with the collaboration of the Consultant JMO, Ragama. The Department provides specialist services to the public on two days each week (every Monday and Tuesday) and every other weekend through the Colombo North Teaching Hospital. The academics also serve as expert witnesses in various High Courts in the island. Both undergraduates and postgraduates develop their skills under direct supervision of the academic staff during these service component days.
The Department of Forensic Medicine is located on the ground floor of the para-clinical building (A24-001) at Thallagolla Road and the clinical extension is at the office of the Judicial Medical Officer, Ragama (Ground floor) in the premises of the Colombo North Teaching Hospital. The Department has a museum that houses a selection of catalogued macroscopic specimens (80), booklets of self-learning materials, and colour photographs (over 500) that are used for teaching purposes. The laboratory assists in autopsy tissue processing and histology slide preparation.
Providing medico-legal services to 20 million Sri Lankans is a herculean task. Departments of Forensic Medicine shoulder the responsibility mainly by teaching and training. Our interest is vested in producing a medical graduate with sound knowledge, skills and attitudes to carry out basic medico-legal work independently while the postgraduate to be a leader, lifelong learner, as well as a true professional to handle complicated situations. The Department of Forensic Medicine University of Kelaniya has molded their teaching and training programs to cater this need. In keeping with the faculty's strong research culture, postgraduate trainees from the department have commenced several research projects under the supervision and guidance of the academics.
The members of our department believe that learning is an active process where the student is the most important person. We obtain regular feedback from the students and with the help of the Medical Education Centre, necessary changes are brought in to make the teaching and learning an enjoyable experience. Further we are committed to research in Forensic Medicine. So far the department has over 30 publications in peer reviewed local and international journals.