Stanbridge University President Yasith Weerasuriya Discusses How Technology is Changing Medicine
A Q&A with Yasith Weerasuriya, President of Stanbridge University located in Irvine, California. Stanbridge is an award-winning institution that focuses on healthcare training leading to licensure, offering occupational therapy, Physical Therapy, Nursing, and veterinary science programs. Mr. Weerasuriya has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in the education sector. He attended Wichita State University and Irvine Valley College.
Q: You are a healthcare professional yourself. What led you to enter into this field?
A: A strong belief that higher education is the key to the social, economic, and political empowerment of individuals. Particularly in healthcare, where access to information can be a matter of life or death.
Q: What are some of the technological advances you have seen in your career?
A: The internet has changed everything! It exponentially increased the power of knowledge sharing, awareness and has led to a new era of human empowerment – where anyone, anywhere, can learn about almost anything.
Q: What do you see as some of the biggest technological advancements in your field?
A: Biggest advancement is ‘Precision Medicine’ — whereby healthcare practitioners use information from scientific research coupled with individual patient characteristics to provide highly targeted – and often personalized – care.
Q: What role does a college training program play in preparing students to enter this field?
A: College is critical – it provides the necessary foundation for learners to obtain the knowledge and skills to put them on a path towards lifelong learning. And most importantly, higher education opens opportunities for social and economic advancement.
Q: What do you see as the future of technological advancements in healthcare?
A: The convergence of big data, improved computational power, and healthcare innovation will lead to unprecedented opportunities for personalized medicine and individualized care. Healthcare professionals will have access to more detailed information about patients than ever before, including lifestyle patterns, genomic profiles, allergies, clinical tests, and environmental conditions.
Q: How can Stanbridge University prepare its students for this future?
A: Stanbridge’s approach is to incorporate technology at the core of our design by developing flexible learning platforms that will be able to keep up with advances in technology and healthcare systems. In addition, we emphasize clinical laboratory experiences which help learners apply, reflect and improve on their knowledge and skills.
Q: What advice can you give students considering a career in your field?
A: My advice to students is simple – Follow your passion! And be sure to choose a college that will prepare you for the workplace of tomorrow. In today’s economy, it’s easy to get left behind if you don’t have a postsecondary credential.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: Every day brings new opportunities and challenges – but that’s also what makes it interesting! I especially enjoy working with our students – watching them transform into professionals prepared for an increasingly complex healthcare world.
Q: Do people come to you for advice about their career path?
A: All the time! People are naturally curious about what I do and how I got there. Of course, we all have our own paths, but there is often value in sharing lessons learned along the way with others who are just beginning theirs.