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The College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka (CGPSL) has brought about a profound change in the academic status of general / family practice in Sri Lanka, and the first step was the recognition of Family Medicine by the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM) of the University of Colombo.
Postgraduate Medical Education
A Board of Study in Family Medicine, with major representation from the CGPSL was set up at the PGIM in 1980.
Courses of study and examinations for the Diploma in Family Medicine and later the MD Family Medicine were developed by the Board of Study with assistance from reputed medical educationists both local and foreign. Evaluators have described the courses and examinations, as relevant to family practice in Sri Lanka.
The Diploma in Family Medicine and the MD Family Medicine by thesis are now being conducted for general / family practitioners in India by the PGIM in collaboration with the Indian Medical Association.
Undergraduate Medical Education
In 1981 the CGPSL embarked on its first venture into undergraduate medical education by establishing a private medical school and including Family Medicine in its curriculum. Unfortunately private medical education could not survive in Sri Lanka.
In later years Family Medicine was included in the curriculum for medical undergraduates at two state universities, the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in 1993 and the University of Kelaniya in 1994.Both Universities now, have Departments of Family Medicine.
Continuing Medical Education / Professional Development
During the past three decades the CGPSL has conducted programmes for continuing medical education (CME) and continuing professional development (CPD) for general / family practitioners and thereby contributed a great deal towards enhancing family practice and the orientation of general / family practitioners towards research.
The main event for CME/CPD activity of the College has been the annual academic session which is a valuable forum for education and presentation of research work.
The journal of the CGPSL
The Sri Lankan Family Physician was first published in 1979 and has provided for documentation of academic and research activities, and also personal views of medical interest.
Education by Distance Mode
Members of the CGPSL through the Post graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM), play a major role in formulating a DE programme for the Diploma in Family Medicine.
More recently modules of teaching / learning of the MCGP Course are being converted into a distance education format.
Membership of the College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka
Initially general / family practitioners were admitted to the College on the basis of experience and later by accreditation for CME.
Subsequently academic performance became one of the criteria for membership and the Constitution was so amended.
A course of training and a qualifying examination for Membership of the College were established in 1992, and have progressed with constant review and revision.
Faculty of Teachers of Family Medicine
The establishment of a Faculty of Teachers of Family Medicine was an innovative venture of the CGPSL.
Members were admitted to the faculty and some of them appointed as professors and lecturers, according to criteria laid down in the Constitution of the Faculty.
The purpose of the Faculty of Teachers was to train and develop teachers of Family Medicine, to formulate and conduct courses of study and assessment procedures, and to design vocational training for family practice.
Courses for Government Medical Officers
Since 1999 the CGPSL has conducted update courses for medical officers who provide primary medical care at Ministry of Health Institutions, with the intent of improving health care received mostly by people away from the centre.
A Department of Clinical Hypnosis
In 2005 the CGPSL took up the task of training members of the medical profession in clinical hypnosis by establishing a Department to conduct a certificate course. The training was done by qualified family physician peers. (629 words)
Dennis J Aloysius. Historical perspective of the College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan Family Physician 2001; 24: 1-12