Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of communities and individuals." The undergraduate teaching commitment of the department of Public Health is mainly through the Community Health Strand. The teaching/ learning activities of the Community Health Strand extend over the first four years of the five year MBBS programme of our university. In addition to classroom learning activities, the students undertake a research project, participate in a community attachment lasting over 10 months and undergo a four week clerkship in public health.
The Department is also involved in many collaborative research projects with other Departments within the faculty as well as with researchers from other institutions within the country and overseas. Our main research interests are – epidemiology and prevention of non- communicable diseases, mosquito borne diseases, occupational health, quality in healthcare, health needs of vulnerable groups, health effects of air pollution, chronic exposure to pesticides and heavy metals, reproductive health, substance abuse and clinical trials.
Our Department is a popular training unit for the MD in Community Medicine trainees of the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine. We also organize short term Research Methodology training programmes for academics and other researchers attached to our university as well as other institutions.
The Department conducts the first- ever Master Of Public Health degree programme in Sri Lanka. This programme specializes in applied epidemiology and is open to Health and allied health professionals.