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USC division hosts Fulbright scholar from Sri Lanka

Gamage Amara Damayanthi Perera, chief physiotherapist of the Burns and Reconstructive Surgical Unit of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (Photo/David Donaldson)

A Fulbright Scholar from Sri Lanka is continuing her education this summer at the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy.

Gamage Amara Damayanthi Perera, chief physiotherapist of the Burns and Reconstructive Surgical Unit of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, is one of the relatively few foreign-trained physical therapists to receive the educational exchange scholarship for physical therapy studies in the United States.

Perera, who was nominated by the United States-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission, said that she chose USC as her host institution because of the quality of the division’s professional instruction.

“As a result of my exposure to different clinical and academic settings,” she said, “I hope to develop a link between the University of Southern California and Sri Lankan physiotherapy for future collaboration.”

During her months at USC, Perera has worked with division faculty and staff, clinicians at Keck Hospital of USC and LAC+USC Medical Center and Shriners Hospital for Children. She attended numerous classes and lectures in the USC Doctor of Physical Therapy program to study teaching methods and learn about the curriculum, and she observed activity in the division’s research labs.

The USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy is the top-ranked physical therapy program in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, offering degree programs in physical therapy (DPT) and biokinesiology (MS and PhD), postgraduate residencies in neurologic, orthopedic, pediatric and sports physical therapy, and continuing education courses on clinical and evidence-based topics.

Legislation establishing the Fulbright program, now in its 65th year, was sponsored by U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright. The awards assist a limited number of scholars, selected on the basis of academic excellence, for postgraduate study. Nominated candidates are reviewed by the Fulbright Scholarship Board and, if approved, are matched with host universities.

Sharon DeMuth, adjunct assistant professor of clinical physical therapy, served as the division’s Fulbright program coordinator for Perera.

USC division hosts Fulbright scholar from Sri Lanka

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