Race and cultural diversity: the training of psychologists and psychiatrists
Dr. Suman Fernando was born in 1932 to a middle-class family in Sri Lanka as the second eldest in a family of three. In 1971, Dr Fernando was awarded MRCPsych and FRCPsych by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and in 1975 he also received an MD from the University of Cambridge for the thesis he wrote that compared Jewish and non-Jewish patients in East London on socio-cultural factors that impacted on depression. His thesis was one of the earliest studies in transcultural psychiatry and possibly the first such study presented to Cambridge for an MD degree. During his visits to Sri Lanka in the late 1980s and 1990s, Dr. Fernando gave occasional talks on mental health related issues and visited places of religious and spiritual importance where people with mental health problems sought redress. Much of Dr Fernando's writing reflects his background and childhood experiences in Sri Lanka and his continuing involvement in Sri Lankan life after emigrating.