Dr Poorna Gunasekera
Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Biomedical Sciences
Peninsula Medical School (Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry)
Lead for Interprofessional Education, Co-lead for Overseas Student Support, Co-lead of Tissue Pathology, Lecturer, Mentor, Academic and Pastoral Tutor
Poorna, hailing from Kandy, Sri Lanka, practised general medicine, then ophthalmology, before moving to the United Kingdom having been awarded a commonwealth scholarship in 1999. In research, he led an initiative that identified the possible association between maternal rubella infestation and congenital blindness presenting to a tertiary eye hospital, which ultimately led to the introduction of the rubella vaccine to the Expanded Programme of Immunisation in Sri Lanka. He also served as the director of a maternal mortality trial conducted in four centres in Ghana by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, with over 200,000 registered participants. His current research focus is in empowering individuals and communities to have a greater control over their own health.
Poorna has worked with students of multiple disciplines, at various stages of study, ranging from those following ACCESS and BTEC courses in Further Education to postgraduates in diverse centres of Higher Education, which explains his strong commitment to interprofessional education. He also served as the lead evaluation researcher of JUMP2, a four-year study of interprofessional education funded by the Department of Health, involving four universities and ten NHS trusts in London. He has won multiple awards for inspirational teaching and student support, in his current role as a full-time facilitator of education.
While he absolutely enjoys the privilege of working with some of the brightest minds, Poorna's true passion lies in facilitating the process of self-discovery of the innate potential that lies within each individual. This vision lies at the heart of MegaReach (www.megareach.org) a global volunteering organisation that he founded in early 2015, which has touched the lives of those living in all 5 continents of the world with the simple message of “making a real difference to real people”. Poorna is always open to the possibility of collaborating with like-mined individuals and organisations and loves working across boundaries of every nature.