Hello! I’m Kasunka, a student researcher at the Subject Matter Lab, working with the team since 2021.
What’s your role in the Subject Matter Lab?
I work on a mixed-methods study analyzing the citations of a highly influential article on the French experience with primary care-based buprenorphine. We are interested in understanding where the French experience described in the article has travelled within the literature and in what ways it has been applied. We hope the results of the study will facilitate evidence-based policymaking to improve opioid use disorder care. Outside of this study, I have worked on a qualitative meta-synthesis on the perspectives and experiences of healthcare providers on the extra-medical use of buprenorphine.
What did you do before joining Subject Matter?
I am a physician from Sri Lanka. I completed my MBBS at the University of Ruhuna. I did my internship in pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology. After relocating to Canada. I enrolled in the master’s program in community health in family and community medicine at the University of Toronto. During graduate studies, I joined the summer mentorship program and mentored high school students of Indigenous and African ancestry to support their ambitions of pursuing health care careers. With ‘Grad Minds’, I planned coffee chats and created infographics to help newcomer students to cope with culture shock. I was a member of the content subcommittee for the annual student-led conference at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. I was also a mentor in the student buddy program and a companion caller in the student association for geriatric empowerment at the University of Toronto.
Before researching opioid use disorder, my research interest was focused on reproductive health. I continue to work on reproductive health research projects at St Michael’s and Women’s College hospitals. I recently joined the Ontario Public Health Associations’ reproductive health working group and look forward to promoting reproductive health among individuals with substance use disorders.
What do you like to do outside of work
I like to bake. My bakes vary between simple one-bowl bakes and quite complicated ones. They also range from great bakes to total failures. I have a group of friends who gladly volunteer to test my bakes. We have chats over tea and play board games whenever we get a chance.
A few more questions, just for fun:
- What is your favourite childhood memory?
I have two, and I will tell you both!
I was born in a beautiful village in Sri Lanka. Growing up, I had kerosene lamp-lit nights because we did not have electricity. Every night, my father would tell me a story. We watched the night sky and listened to animal sounds. That is one of my favourite childhood memories.
I was often punished in sixth grade because I could not memorize the multiplication table. Now you might be wondering why it is one of my favourites. It’s because of the girl next to me sharing the same punishment. Guess what? We became besties for life.
- What was the last book you read?
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi. It presents the story of Rahima, a young girl growing up in modern-day Afghanistan, interwoven with the life of her great-great-grandmother, Shekiba. The book portrays the challenges these two women faced, how they found self-worth and confidence, and how they became independent and broke their shells.
- Would you describe yourself as a morning person or evening person? Why?
I do not find a difference in productivity from 8am to midnight except in early afternoon. I feel sluggish between 1-3pm. So, I think I do not belong to any of the two categories.