Traditional Medicine and Public Health

Health care treatment in modern Sri Lanka includes both traditional Ayurvedic and Western medical practices. From its introduction in the 6th centry BCE, traditional medicine has been transformed in relation to the social evolution of Buddhist and Hindu civilizations, through colonial health politicies, through nationalist cultural agendas, and through many other changes of modernization. Students have the opportunity to visit, volunteer in, and conduct research on Ayurvedic practices and facilities, village medical sites, and urban hospitals.

*Please note that our Traditional Medicine course is only offered in the Fall semester. However, the group will take field trips to ayurvedic medicine dispensaries and gardens in the Spring semester, and students are always welcome to focus their Independent Study Projects on traditional medicine. 

Program Highlights

"ISLE helped me to build my career goals of becoming an OB/GYN who volunteers her services abroad and my experience helped me to build my personal character." -Spring '14 student

  • Visit Ayurvedic hospitals, gardens, and schools
  • Take a course in the history of traditional medicine
  • Conduct an Independent Study Project on traditional medicine and public health in Sri Lanka
  • Volunteer in an Ayurvedic or Western medical site

Relevant Independent Study Projects

  • Tiffany Castillo (ISLE '16): "Social Care Needs of Psychiatric Patients"
  • Dharsan Chandrakumar (ISLE '16): "Socio-cultural Barriers to Pre-Exposure Implementation to Prevent HIV in Sri Lanka"
  • Robert Gaines (ISLE '15): "Saving Health: Perspectives on the Conservation of Medicinal Plant Species in Sri Lanka"
  • Annie Glenn (ISLE '15): "Ethicalitea: A Close Look into Healthcare on Sri Lankan Tea Plantation Estates"
  • Jasmin Mahabamunuge (ISLE '14): "A Take on Sri Lankan Women's Empowerment through the Lens of Reproductive Health and Family Planning"
  • Molly Work (ISLE '12): "Sexual and Reproductive Health Services Available to the Plantation Sector"
  • Will Olson (ISLE '07): "The Priest, the Patient and the Head Cap, Investigating Ayurvedic Mental Healing in Modern Sri Lanka"
  • Jessical Carlson (ISLE '06): "My Way is Better than Your Way: Comparing Methods of Ayurvedic Education"