Based on a proposal by Dr. Athula Sumathipala, Professor Devaka Fernando Dr. Sisira Siribaddana and Dr. Nihal Abeysingha formed a working group.
Professor Devaka Fernando and Dr. Athula Sumathipala obtained ethical clearance from the Ethical Committee of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo. Dr. Alison McDonald, in charge of the twin registers at the Institute of Psychiatry, London and Dr. Sumathipala jointly obtained ethical clearance from the ethical committee at the Institute of Psychiatry, to establish collaborative support for the project.
Professor Devaka Fernando invited Professor Rohan Jayasekera to the group. A committee comprising of Dr. Nihal Abeysingha, Prof. Rohan Jayasekera, Dr. Sisira Siribaddana, Professor Devaka Fernando and Dr. Athula Sumathipala was then established. These 5 members founded the Registry in 1996 and became the Project Supervisory Committee. Professor Devaka Fernando became the Director.
Funding and Supporting
A large number of leading international twin researchers welcomed this initiative. Being a new initiative, the required funding was the hardest. We appealed for support from non-charitable business organisations in the form of donations or sponsorship. Two leading national newspapers, in Sri Lanka offered free newspaper advertisements for the twin competition.
Launching the project
The launching of the project took place during the 110th Annual Scientific Sessions of the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA), 1997 March. A working document as a summery brochure was published. Following the launch, Professor Devaka Fernando introduced Dr. Vajira Dissanayake to the Project Supervisory Committee. He designed the web site. Project Supervisory Committee invited the Sri Lanka Medical Association to provide ethical and monetary supervision. The SLMA accepted the invitation and appointed 5 members. A Chairman was appointed to this Project Supervisory Committee, which became the SLMA Committee on twin research. The Committee decided to accept the donation from Gemini Research UK, with no conditions attached. The Human Genetics Unit of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo extended its academic collaboration and support by offering space and other facilities, strengthening the effort further.
Resignations and new appointments
In 1999 Professor Rohan Jayasekera and Dr. Vajira Dissanayake submitted resignation from the Committee and after negotiations the SLMA council accepted the resignations. Dr Deepthi De Silva and Professor Narada Warnasuriya were appointed to the committee. Dr. Sisira Siribaddana was appointed as the new Director.
In August 2000, the SLMA granted independence to the Registry, as the SLMA felt that it was not able to undertake a project of this magnitude. However, the SLMA committee on ethics will continue to assist the Registry.