Faculty Members

Dr. Dilini Vethanayagam

Associate Professor

Department of Medicine

Division of Pulmonary Medicine
    Contact details are for academic matters only.

About Me

Personal Statement:

My clinical, educational and research goals are to foster high quality patient-oriented care, and to develop methods to more efficiently navigate today’s complex medical system and assess and evaluate methods to improve patient care coordination. In addition to my work as a respirologist and asthma specialist, I am the center director for the Edmonton Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) Center, the second HHT Center in Canada (and first in Western Canada). The Edmonton HHT Center was also one of the founding Centers for the North American HHT Network (2008).

Dr. Dilini Vethanayagam followed her medical degree from the University of Alberta with a rotating internship at Dalhousie University, an internal medicine residency at Queen’s University, a respirology fellowship at the University of Western Ontario and an asthma clinical research fellowship at McMaster University. She was recruited from Hamilton Health Sciences to the University of Alberta in 2003.  

Dr. Vethanayagam is a respirologist and general Internist on staff with Alberta Health Services, primary location based at the University of Alberta Hospital / Kaye Edmonton Clinic. She developed the structure for respiratory clinical telehealth for distance care patients, including those on First Nations reserves. 

Leadership and Collaborations:

Dr. Vethanayagam is on the executive for the University of Alberta Hospital Medical Staff Society. She sits on the University of Alberta’s General Faculties Council and Senate and is on the executive for the University of Alberta Hospital Medical Staff Society. She has served on the Alberta Medical Association Respiratory Section Executive; conference committees for the Alberta Lung Association (and ARDS) and Ontario Thoracic Society Better Breathing Conference; and helped establish the Induced Sputum Lab (2004-2013).

She is the lead for the Edmonton Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) Centre and the Edmonton Regional Severe Asthma Clinic. 

Dr. Vethanayagam developed the Canadian Severe Asthma Network to foster improved care for patients with severe asthma within the Canadian health system. In 2016, she developed the online Refugee Health educational lecture series as an outreach for the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. The series is intended to help primary care physicians and patients better understand the health needs of new Canadians, many of whom have escaped traumatic situations. In 2018, she initiated a project to create student awareness of mental health care as part of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s outreach on student mental health for the University of Alberta. Dr. Vethanayagam also developed the structure for respiratory clinical telehealth for distance care patients, including those on First Nations reserves.

Dr. Vethanayagam was awarded the Physician of the Year (2019) by the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association. In 2017 was awarded the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award by the GOLD Foundation and the Woman of the Year award from the University of Alberta’s Academic Women’s Association. She was a 2018 nominee for the Undergraduate Research Award and a 2016 nominee for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Mentorship award.

See also:

Canadian Severe Asthma Network: www.severeasthma.ca

General Faculties Council: www.governance.ualberta.ca

University of Alberta Senate: https://www.ualberta.ca/why-
ualberta/administration/chancellor-and-senate/senate;

International HHT Foundation: www.curehht.org


Teaching

In addition to classroom instruction, Dr. Vethanayagam supervises undergraduate and graduate trainees and Respirology residents on educational research projects. She has supervised and mentored both undergraduate and graduate students in different faculties within the University of Alberta, along with other Canadian and international universities. She provides clinical supervision to postgraduate pulmonary and general internal medicine residents and inter-disciplinary mentorship to nurses in the respiratory therapy field.


Research

Dr. Vethanayagam’s clinical research is focused in two areas: asthma and severe asthma along with associated obstructive airways disorders and b) Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) and Pulmonary Arterio-Venous Malformations (PAVMs) which are associated with HHT and can lead to strokes.  

She is part of the National Institutes of Health-funded Rare Diseases Consortium from which there are ongoing publications (currently in its third five-year cycle of funding).

She has published in peer-reviewed journals, including Canadian Medical Association Journal; Journal of Asthma; Clinical Investigative Medicine; European Respiratory Journal; American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine; Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology; Canadian Journal of Neurologic Sciences along with many web-based publications and business reports for Alberta Health Services. 

She has performed reviews for the following journals: Canadian Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Sleep Medicine; Environment International; International Journal of Public Health, Canadian Respiratory Journal; Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology; Canadian Family Medicine and others. She is an Assistant Editor for Clinical Investigative Medicine.


Research Keywords

asthma, embolic strokes, health services, HHT, PAVMs, severe asthma