Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Santosh Jain Endowed Memorial Scholarship Awarded to IU Graduate Student Wasantha Jayawardene

(from the left) Santosh Jain's son; Wasantha Jayawardene, 2011 award winner;
Mr. Chaman Jain, a senior lecturer in SPEA and husband of the late Santosh Jain Endowed; Ahmed YoussefAgha, assistant professor in applied health sciences

Santosh Jain Endowed Memorial Scholarship
Wasantha Jayawardene, 2011 Award Winner
Doctoral candidate in Health Behavior
Department of Applied Health Science

IU Doctoral student Wasantha Jayawardene from the Department of Applied Health Science is the winner of the first ever Santosh Jain Endowed Memorial Scholarship.

The $5,000 annual award offers financial support to a current international graduate student who has demonstrated commitment to service and education and plans to pursue a service-oriented career. The recipient will possess a track record of service to under-served or rural communities, humanitarian causes, or educational organizations in activities that support an improvement in the lives and opportunities to those in impoverished communities.

Award winner Jayawardene fits that description well. His advisers describe his as having a strong passion for serving disadvantaged populations, especially in terms of access to health care and his research focuses on health promotion of low income social groups and ethnic minorities through school health activities. Jayawardene is dedicated to his research, but he also possesses a background filled with experience working as a medical doctor in a rural hospital, as a medical office in health sector planning, and as a regional epidemiologist at the district level in Sri Lanka. His training is international and he is able to speak English, Russian, Tamil, and Sinhala.

“I strongly believe that our health care systems do not reach the social periphery, effectively utilize the available resources or get the full participation of disadvantaged populations,” Jayawardene said. “It has inflexible procedures and styles, is not people oriented, and overlooks the cultural and social aspects of disease, which ultimately demands more studies and researches to rectify. My ultimate goals are to study unexplored aspects of health issues in disadvantaged populations in order to utilize that knowledge to develop interventions. Gaining knowledge and research experience is an essential step to reach these goals, which is the reason for me to set my heart upon a research and academic career in HPER.”

The scholarship honors the memory of Chaman Jain's wife, who was well known among international graduate students. Chaman Jain, a senior lecturer in SPEA, said he and his children felt very strongly that this is the way to continue her vision to support education.

For more information on the award: http://www.indiana.edu/~grdschl/pdf/Santosh_Jain.pdf