Sri Lanka YPL alumni launch Young Health Professionals Programme

A  Young Health Professionals Leadership (YHPL) programme workshop, was held from the 9th-11th June 2015 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.Fifteen young health professionals under the age of forty years, both medical and non-medical with research and teaching skills and who have taken on positions of responsibility at some point in their lives and careers were brought together and hosted in a common venue and allowed to network both socially and academically.
The idea to cultivate ‘young’ leadership in health in Sri Lanka was the brain-child of Professor Nilanthi de Silva, Current Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, who is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka. Her efforts were instrumental in bringing together four alumni (Suneth Agampodi, Lakmali Amarasiri, Anjana de Silva and Neranjan Dissanayake) who had previously participated in the YPL programme to form a steering committee to organize the Sri Lankan event. This idea was fully supported by Professor Jennifer Perera, the President of the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) and the ‘Young Health Professionals Leadership programme was launched under the patronage of SLMA. 
This workshop was designed to introduce young leaders to theoretical concepts of leadership and to broaden their repertoire of leadership skills. A field visit to SLINTEC, the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology enhanced their horizons on current cutting edge technology. The field trip also gave them an opportunity to network and build up a rapport before the workshop commenced. 
On the first day the participants were asked to self-reflect and also compare challenges in leadership. 
Another important aspect of the workshop was to challenge the participants to develop a personal leadership plan – to choose just one leadership skill from among those discussed during the earlier sessions and to consider how improving their skill-set in this area would make them a more effective leader. 
A key feature of the programme was a discussion with a peer gathering featuring eminent persons in the fields of health, corporate sector and research and a session with the alumni where leadership experiences were shared. There was also an interactive session on relationship between medical and allied health professionals.
The whole workshop was based on interactive discussions and presentations, with the participants doing most of the speaking. Based on the knowledge gathered and experiences shared, the participants will present a group presentation at the SLMA sessions on 8th July 2015.
These are a few comments from some of the participants:
‘Thank you so much to all of you for organizing such an “eye opener”. While meeting and listening to a group of eminent leaders was undoubtedly inspirational, for me the best bit was finding out how much each of the participants and the mentors have gone through and how much we can learn from each other, which was a truly humbling experience. There is nothing like finding out that you are not alone’. 
‘Thank you very much for arranging this wonderful programme and also selecting me for this. I was inspired by listening to stories of eminent people. I learned a lot to improve myself. I believe this as a good step to build a second line’.
‘No words to say thank you, we will continue this. Hope to see you all soon in SLMA sessions next month at least’.
The steering committee wishes to thank the President and all the committee of the SLMA for their support to make this endeavor a reality and a success.
Senior Lecturer in Physiology
Department of Physiology
Faculty of Medicine
University of Kelaniya