Family study programme

Family study; a students perspective…

The family study programme was featured in a leading local language maternal magazine. A series of 10 articles were written as reflections of a medical student during the family study programme. This series showcases how the reciprocal learning between students and family members taking place during this period.
Read more..

Beyond an academic exercise…

Health promotion is always a challenge. A group of students worked with a family consists of a disable mother, a father with end stage renal failure (committed suicide during their work) and a newborn infant was featured in NCDFREEtv showing their outstanding work.
Watch the video here


Family study programme is a 12-month comprehensive community based learning experience for the medical undergraduates in the Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences (FMAS), Rajarata University of Sri Lanka. Undergraduate medical students in 3rd and 4th years are involved in this programme as a part of Community Medicine training programme for 3rd MBBS examination.

A group of 5 or 6 students (including at least one female and at least one male student) are allocated to a family residing in the field practice area of FMAS (Nuwaragamplatha Central MOH area). The allocated family is an ‚eligible family‛ as defined by the MOH system with a pregnant mother or a newborn child. Students are involved in promoting health among the family members using principles of health promotion and prevention.

Family study programme is a different experience for students, as it provides opportunity to work with healthy individuals rather than patients. Students will have to adopt a different approach to interact with these individuals. The programme provides an opportunity to understand health related behaviors in day to day life and underlying determinants of those behaviors. It provides students the opportunity to be engaged in health promotion through designing individualize health outcomes for family members with long term follow-up and dealing with health conditions they will seldom be exposed to during hospital based training.

Family study programme provides an opportunity for students to practice what theyhave learnt in preclinical, para-clinical and clinical subjects, in the community. Students will employ public health concepts such as primary health care, healthpromotion, people centered health care, public empowerment, and continuum of care, during the family study programme. Students are encouraged to find evidence based practices and best practices in addition to routine practices during care provision. This is aimed at improving students’ self-learning skills, information literacy and skills for lifelong learning. Soft skills including communication skills, creative thinking, critical thinking and problem solving and teamwork are also improved. It is hoped that this programme will create a lasting change in the attitudes of the students, making them skilled, updated, sensible and responsible doctors who will have an empathic and holistic approach towards their patients.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)

At the end of this programme, students will be able to promote health of individuals and families focusing on priority health needs and health related problems atindividual/family level considering the given social, cultural, and economic context.

Broad Objectives

1. Identify health conditions in family members, assess causation, complications, impact of the identified conditions and implement management and prevention strategies for them.
2. Identify health conditions a particular family member is at risk of getting and implement preventive measures and preparations for early identification and management if they occur.
3. Develop health promotion interventions based on identified priority health needs of each family member at individual and family level.
4. Critically reflect on the contribution and capability of healthcare systems in the country and assist the family to optimize the appropriate service utilization of the health systems in the country.
5. Develop socio emotional skills, information technology skills, professional and lifelong learning skills in (related to) providing health care.

Family study hand book

Department of Community Medicine