News ≫ SLF Int, USA 2022 Outstanding Community Service Award Prof. Dushyantha Jayaweera For his Excellence in Research and Clinical Work in HIV/HCV & Covid-19 Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Work

SLF Int, USA 2022 Outstanding Community Service Award Prof. Dushyantha Jayaweera For his Excellence in Research and Clinical Work in HIV/HCV & Covid-19 Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Work

Nov 11, 2022
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Dr. Jayaweera received his M.D. degree from Sri Lanka and trained in medicine in Sri Lanka, Great Britain, and Loyola University of Chicago. In 1992, he came to the University of Miami after serving as senior registrar at Birmingham University in the United Kingdom.

He began his work in Miami on HIV and infectious diseases and worked with the inner-city minority population infected with HIV while there and helping others. He believes that “we must place others’ interests above our own,” which makes a better place to live and benefits all. His focus has been on research that is centered on understanding the factors that impact communities of color and minorities, which have been long ignored, and finding solutions to improve their health outcomes. Even his research has pivoted depending upon the needs of the community. He was frequently teaching and speaking about HIV prevention and education in inner-city black churches.

His passion has been working in disaster relief. His first international mission was to Honduras when hurricane Mitch devastated the country in October 1998. The University of Miami sent a team with Dr. Jayaweera, and they provided medical care and delivered essential items such as medications donated by the University of Miami to the people in Tegucigalpa and La Lima. They spent a week helping the population affected by banana plantations in La Lima and saw hundreds of patients each day.

In 2010, Haiti was affected by an unprecedented earthquake with More than 50,000 homes were destroyed, another 77,000 damaged, and 220,000 people died. The University of Miami sprang into action and led the medical mission called “Project Medishare,” supported by some of the health systems in the US and donors. Dr. Jayaweera was there on the second week of the medical mission, setting up the field hospital and sleeping in makeshift tents. He was the chief medical officer, managing a large operation of 200 healthcare workers where thousands of patients were treated daily for trauma and other medical conditions. They set up two operating rooms and an ICU in a field hospital. As the International Director of the Rotary Club of Dade Land and Pinecrest Rotary (from 2002-2014), He was responsible, with other members, for providing community service in many countries. He raised funds for Nepal after the earthquake in April 2015. They raised close to $ 20,000.

As a member of the Rotary club his main contribution was to disaster relief in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami in December 2004. After the tsunami, it was found that the OBGYN unit at Galle hospital was completely destroyed. Dr. Jayaweera and the Rotary Club of Pinecrest and Dade Land collected money from all the Florida clubs and, with matching grants from Rotary International, donated close to $200,000.00 to the hospital to buy all the equipment for the clinic. He visited Sri Lanka and made sure that all the activities planned were executed as designed. Furthermore, with the help of Palmer Trinity School in Miami, he helped to repair a school in Galle, Sri Lanka. Even this year When COVID pandemic affected Sri Lanka, he started working with the Colombo Medical School and other leaders in Colombo to come up with plans to obtain essential items for patient care in Sri Lanka. He worked with SLF very closely in fund raising and education. He managed to work with the Sri Lanka diaspora in FL to raise funds for COVID relief efforts and these were transferred via Rotary club.

In 2012, he was appointed Associate Vice Provost for Human Subject Research, overseeing the activities of the ethics committees and serving as a liaison between these committees and senior institutional leadership. He spearheaded the accreditation of the university’s human research protection program by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs in the US. He was also instrumental in the creation or revision of a variety of policies and practices to increase compliance while partnering with investigators to address their concerns.

Dr. Jayaweera was appointed as the Executive Dean for Research and Research Education for the Miller School of Medicine in September 2015. He was the Associate Vice Provost for Human Subject Protection prior to this appointment. Dr. Jayaweera has over 20 years of experience with HIV and serves as the Director of the HIV/HCV co-infection clinic. He has received grant support from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Jayaweera has led and continues to lead numerous industry-funded trials on HIV and HIV/HCV confections and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and 120 conference abstracts while maintaining a clinical practice and serving the UM research community. Additionally, he serves the larger South Florida community as an AIDS educator and is a senior faculty member of the AIDS Education and Training Center. Dr. Jayaweera has been involved in emerging infections. He started working on HIV at the beginning of the pandemic and hepatitis C in 2000, Zika in 2018 and COVID 19 in 2020. Over the last 20 years, he has received research funding for all these diseases. He was the principal investigator for the University of Miami funded by the NIH on the Janssen vaccine, convalescent plasma for inpatients and ACTOV-6 platform studies.

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