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    Uniformed Services University Surgeon Named Fulbright Scholar



    Story by Sharon Holland 

    Uniformed Services University

    Since 1946, some of the world’s brightest minds have been selected for the prestigious Fulbright Award to promote cultural, education and research exchange between nations, and Uniformed Services University class of 2003 alumna, Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Tamara Worlton, has now joined their ranks.

    Worlton, chief of Global Surgery in the Uniformed Services University-Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Department of Surgery, and deputy director for Surgery with USU’s Center for Global Health Engagement, was notified of her selection for a Fulbright Award on May 15 by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. She is the second USU surgery faculty member selected for the award in the past four years; Dr. Rahul Jindal was selected in 2016.

    Worlton, who recently returned from New York City supporting the COVID-19 response as part of the USNS Comfort mission, was chosen for the Fulbright honor for her proposed work to establish a trauma registry in Sri Lanka.

    “Through Dr. Norman Rich [professor and emeritus chair of Surgery, USU], I have been working with military surgeons in Sri Lanka for several years. Their civil war spanned almost three decades and the amount of casualties was staggering. One young surgeon, Lt. Col. Amila Ratnayake, started a correspondence with Professor Rich to discuss similarities in the Vietnam Vascular Registry [that Rich established] and his own recorded cases,” said Worlton. “After the war ended, the Sri Lankan’s noted that skills sustainment for military medicine was difficult and they founded the Sri Lankan College of Military Medicine (SLCOMM). Lt. Col. Ratnayake invited Professor Rich, who passed the invitation to me as the director of Global Surgery at USU. In the past two years, we have hosted two grand rounds speakers from SLCOMM, Lt. Col. Ratnayake was finally able to meet Professor Rich in person, USU has sent multiple faculty to Sri Lanka to speak, and Lt. Col. Ratnayake and I have published multiple papers, posters and presentations about vascular trauma. The Fulbright scholarship will give us an opportunity to dedicate more time and resources to expanding trauma registries in Sri Lanka. I will be working at the University of Peradeniya, which has a general surgery residency and has started a local trauma registry. We hope to advocate for a national trauma registry similar to the U.S.”

    The United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs oversees Fulbright Program operations throughout the world. The Fulbright Award recipients are chosen by the Presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which is responsible to the Congress and public and is authorized under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. According to Worlton, typically only 20% of all applicants are selected for the scholarship, and of those, post-doctoral applicants like Worlton are usually in the minority.

    “Your grant is a reflection of your leadership and contributions to society … As a Fulbright participant and a representative of your country, you will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with international partners in educational, political, cultural, economic, and scientific fields. We also hope you will engage in your local community while on your Fulbright exchange. In so doing, you will exemplify the qualities of service, leadership, and excellence that have been hallmarks of this Program for nearly 75 years,” said Fulbright board chair Paul Winfree in his notification letter to Worlton.

    Worlton will join the ranks of more than 390,000 Fulbright Award recipients -- heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, and university presidents, leading journalists, artists, scientists, teachers, Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and MacArthur Fellows.

    “Dr. Worlton brings a wealth of real-world experience in Global Surgery which combined with both her clinical and educational acumen will add tremendous value to the Fulbright program,” said Navy Capt. (Dr.) Eric Elster, USU-Walter Reed Department of Surgery chair. “This opportunity will allow us to further strengthen ties between the United States and Sri Lanka through the lens of surgical and trauma care and education.”



    Date Taken: 06.01.2020
    Date Posted: 06.01.2020 14:55
    Story ID: 371197
    Location: BETHESDA, MD, US 
    Hometown: BETHESDA, MD, US

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