HELPING ALL PATIENTS ACCESS THE BEST HEALTHCARE
Professor Tissa Wijeratne
Professor Tissa Wijeratne OAM MD PhD FRACP FRCP (Edin) FRCP (London) FAHA FAAN FEAN
Senior Neurologist/Clinician-Scientist/ Advocate/ Global Health Expert/ Educator
Professor Tissa Wijeratne is a highly qualified, world recognised senior Neurologist and clinician scientist interested in promoting brain health and preventing neurological disorders globally.
He is the Director and Chair, Department of Neurology and Stroke Services at Western Health, St Albans, 3021, Victoria, Australia.
He holds honorary academic roles at University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, Victoria University in Australia, and the University of Rajarata, Sri Lanka.
Tissa has supervised over 450 basic physician trainees in Australia since 2006 and continue to facilitate train the trainer workshops on behalf of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in Australia since the inception of this program ( well over 100 workshops with where over a 1,000 Australian physicians were trained with skills in supervision) .
Tissa became the first Sri Lankan neurologist to be awarded with the prestigous Order of Australia Award( Order of Australia Medal) on 26th January 2023. This is in recognition of his services to Medicine as a neurologist.
He is the first Sri Lankan/ Australian Neurologist to be appointed as the President, Asian Regional Consortium of Headache (www.archhub.org) .
From humble beginning to discovery of new syndromes, biomarkers, and global impact with World Brain Day Campaign.
Born and raised in what Tissa describe as “the jungle,” Tissa’s life started in one of the remotest parts of Sri Lanka: a village called Kirioruwa-Bandarawela in the central mountainous area. Electricity, hot water, television, and telephone were all miles away from them at the time.
Tissa fondly recalls days spent reading in the shade of a tree in the rice fields that surrounded his family home — the place where sky and earth met, almost kissing each other daily. The mountains were covered with a layer of lush tea bushes. Tissa’s home sat on the top of one of these mountains.
As a young boy, He would spend hours reading his favorite magazine, the Mihira, children’s weekly.
Fast forward several decades. He is now the director of stroke services, neuroscience research unit, academic affairs director, and international affairs director at a leading public health service and a leading educational institution in Melbourne, Australia. Tissa was appointed to the chair of the Department of Neurology at Western Health in Australia to promote better brain health through his leadership to manage patients from 166 countries with unique culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Tissa became the first Sri Lankan-born neurologist to lead an academic department of neurology in Australia in 2016.
Professor Wijeratne completed the world first PhD in COVID-19 and Brain. He coined the new syndrome “ Post Covid-19 Neurological Syndrome” and “ serial systemic immune-inflammatory indices “ on becoming a key opinion leader and global leader in the field of neuroimmunology during the first 18 months of the pandemic.
Kirioruwa-Bandarawela today 2022. On the way to my home.
Unmatched Community Service
With a strong track record in community outreach, Tissa has published more than 3000 media (print and radio) segments as a medical journalist. He has appeared on national radio and television in Sri Lanka and Australia on key issues related to brain health well over 100 times. He continues to publish public health education materials globally through his activities on World Brain Day, collaborating with the World Federation of Neurology.
Tissa and a few of his colleagues from Pakistan, Austria was floating with the idea of a World Brain Day since 2009. The group felt the need for and importance of initiatives for brain health. Without brain health, humans are nothing. A simple chat over a coffee during the world Congress Neurology in 2013 turned into a massive phenomenon the following year. Tissa’s predecessor, Professor Wasay from Pakistan, was the previous chair of the Global Advocacy committee - Tissa had been an active committee member from the very beginning. The WFN leadership and country delegates from 122 countries unanimously endorsed the idea. The rest is history as you can see from here!
Contributions in headache medicine
Migraine is the leading cause of disability in Australia, with nearly $ 40 billion lost productivity to the Australian economy. To further assist headache professionals and the community, Tissa masterminded the birth of the Australian and New Zealand Headache Society in 2014 ( in collaboration with four of his colleague founder members, Tissa designed the logo and built the initial website single-handedly). ANZHS is one of the largest national headache societies in the world today. His work with late Professor James Lance and Professor Peter Goadsby led to James Lance-Peter Goadsby Annual Migraine Oration and Symposium 2018. This has now become a major international event, with well over 1,000 delegates attending the event every year. It is a key academic event of Asian Regional Consortium of Headaches ( affiliated with International Headache Society).
A firm believer in the power of education and equity in healthcare, Tissa is committed to bridging the divide between “rural and urban” and the “developing and developed world”. His vision is to ensure patients access the best practitioners, healthcare, and facilities even when limited resources are available. He demonstrated this by setting up a world-class neurology and stroke service at Western Health with limited resources over the years.
Tissa has been mentoring and teaching medical students from rural and diverse backgrounds across three different continents. He has unparalleled experience in designing and delivering world-class e-learning and online course content in the field of neurology.