Our People

Dr Chinthaka Balasooriya

Sch of Public Health & Com Med
9385 1943



Dr Chinthaka Balasooriya is a nationally recognised expert in Medical Education. He currently leads a range of research projects in medical education, based within the UNSW Medicine program and within the General Practice training program. He recently led a research project funded by the National Heart Foundation of Australia, which aims to enhance the development of clinical reasoning skills in GP trainees and enhance the use of clinical guidelines. He also supervises research into contextual influences on clinical-decision making, the development and evaluation of educational strategies to enhance clinicians’ decision-making skills, and the design and evaluation of educational instruments to develop collaborative learning and clinical collaborative competencies. In addition to his research activities, he has made a high quality contribution to the design and implementation of the UNSW Medicine program over the last 15 years.

Dr Balasooriya also has expertise in the area of Students’ Approaches to Learning. Research projects in this area explore ways to optimise the impact of educational innovations, by promoting deeper approaches to learning across students with varying learning preferences. He has a particular interest in developing more effective methods to evaluate the impact of educational innovations.

Dr Balasooriya’s expertise in Medical Education has been recognised by a range of university and national level wards. These include the Faculty of Medicine Teaching Excellence award (2008), a Vice-Chancellors Award for Teaching Excellence (2012), and an Australian Learning & Teaching Council Citation (2011).

Broad Research Areas  
Medical Education
Specific Research Keywords    

Clinical decision making

Clinical reasoning

Guideline Enhancement Tool

Clinical Collaborative competencies


Students' Approaches to Learning

Cross-over phenomenon

Collaborative Learning

Curriculum Design

Deep Learning


Current Faculty of Medicine profile available at: http://med.unsw.edu.au/people/dr-chinthaka-balasooriya

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  1. Balasooriya, C., Harrison, R., Rawstorne, P., Meyer, L., Razee, H. (2017-2018). Designing, piloting and evaluating a process for formative peer-review of teaching ($45,000). UNSW Scientia Education Investment Fund
  2. Velan, G., Steel, A., Lim, B., Sherry, C., Thomson, C., Balasooriya, C., . . . McIntyre, S. (2017-2018). Development and implementation of an education portfolio to evaluate excellence of teachers at UNSW ($50,000): UNSW Scientia Education Investment Fund.
  3. Torda, A., Damodaran, A., Balasooriya, C., Fenton-Kerr, T., Mobbs, S., & O'Sullivan, P. A. (2018). The CLASSIE project – Clinically applicable student studies in Ethics, for Phase 3 medical students ($ 43,455): UNSW Scientia Education Investment Fund.
  4. ​​​​​​​Balasooriya, C., MacIntyre, R., Travaglia, J. (2015-2016). Adapting and trialling an innovative international approach to address burnout in medical students. University of New South Wales/SJTU-UNSW Collaborative Research Fund - Seed Grant
  5. Balasooriya, C., Canalese, R., Shulruf, B., Zwar, N. (2014). Enhancing the use of Hypertension Guidelines in General Practice ($75,000). National Heart Foundation of Australia – Vanguard Grant (Category 1 - ACGR)
  6. Balasooriya, C., Olupeliyawa, A., O’Sullivan, A., Hughes, C., Rhee, J. Development of a mobile application to facilitate learning and assessment of teamwork skills in clinical settings. ($65,000). UNSW 2014 Allocation of Recurrent HWA Funding
  7. Balasooriya, C., (2012). Clinical decision making in health care settings ($5000). SPHCM Small Grant to Support the development of Category 1 Grant application
  8. Rutherford, A., Thompson, R., Balasooriya, C. (2010/2011). Enhancing the content, delivery and assessment of Graduate Capability 2 in the MBBS program ($6000): University of New South Wales Strategic Learning & Teaching Development Fund.
  9. Balasooriya, C., Taylor, S., & Koritschoner, E. (2010/2011). Assessment and development of Teamwork across all Phases of UNSW Medicine Program ($10,000): University of New South Wales Strategic Learning & Teaching Development Fund.
  10. Balasooriya, C D., Hughes, C. (2009). Assessing teamwork in undergraduate medical education to better prepare students for teamwork requirements of interns($4000): UNSW Seed Funding for ALTC Learning & Teaching Grant Applications.
  11. Harris, P., Bloomfield, L., Hughes, C., Balasooriya, C., Meyer, L. (2007). Evaluation of assessment methods and training related to curricula for postgraduate training in diagnostic radiology and radiation oncology. Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists.



1. Australian Learning & Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning 2011

2. UNSW Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence 2012

3. Award for Teaching Excellence 2008 - UNSW Medicine

4. Award for all round achievement in Teaching and Research 2013 – SPHCM, UNSW

5. Award for excellence in postgraduate supervision 2015 – UNSW Postgraduate ARC

Field of Research (FOR) Tag: 
Medicine, Nursing and Health Curriculum and Pedagogy
Primary Health Care
Curriculum and Pedagogy
Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
Higher Education
Learning Sciences
Socio-economic Objective (SEO) tags: 
Education and Training
Learner and Learning Processes
Assessment and Evaluation of Curriculum
Teaching & Supervision
I am available to supervise: 
Areas of supervision: 

1. Developing collaborative learning skills in medical students

2. Developing clinical reasoning skills in medical students

3. Curricular development and evaluation

4. Students' approaches to learning

Currently supervising: 

1. Primary supervisor: PhD in Medical Education – Asela Olupeliyawa (Identification of collaborative competencies for internship and the development of an assessment strategy that facilitates learning – completed 2012 - Outstanding student performance as evidenced by the ANZAHPE PG Award (National Level), UNSW Medicine Innovation Award, Four peer reviewed Publications including two in top tier MedEd journals, Six conference publications

2. Primary supervisor: PhD in Medical Education – Dr Maha Iqbal (Design and evaluation of an educational instrument to promote collaborative learning competencies)

3. Primary supervisor: PhD in Medical Education – A/Prof Shahid Shamim (Development and evaluation of an Innovative learning strategy for Ethics in Medical Education)

4. Joint-primary supervisor: Professional Doctorate - Michael Wang (Prevention of burnout in postgraduate medical students)

5. Primary Supervisor: PhD in Medical Education - Farhan Vakani (Developing a Continuing Medical Education Program for Pakistan)

6. Co-supervisor: MD in Medical Education, PGIM, Sri Lanka – Dr Sisira Dharmaratne (Developing and evaluating a vignette-based educational module to improve clinical decision making of medical officers in rural primary care settings)


Supervision keywords: 
medical education
curriculum design

1. Co-convenor, Phase 2, UNSW Medicine Program

2. Scenario group facilitator - Phase 1 Medicine

3. Convenor, Executive Education program in Medical Education 

Media & Expertise
Areas of expertise: 

Medical Education - Students' Approaches to Learning, Small Group Facilitation, Collaborative Learning, Curriculum Design and Deep Learning.