Some of the strongest global educational and research experiences at Dartmouth are found within the Geisel School of Medicine’s Global Health programs.  From Peru and Haiti to Rwanda, Tanzania and American Indian health, Geisel has forged several strong core partnerships with educational and research institutions worldwide, living out its commitment to student experiential learning and also bringing together the talents to understand and solve the world’s most pressing health equity issues.

In 2012, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth committed to being part of a long-term project that will help build a strong healthcare and health education system in Rwanda. Geisel is one of eight top U.S. medical schools invited to partner with Rwanda’s Ministry of Health and the Clinton Health Access Initiative in the Human Resources for Health (HRH) program. Over the course of seven years, the program will support the Rwandan government in the building of a high-quality, sustainable health-care system.

The program is addressing four critical health-care challenges in Rwanda: a severe shortage of skilled health workers, poor quality of health worker education, inadequate infrastructure and equipment in health facilities, and inadequate management of health facilities. The program’s aim is to build both the health workforce and health education infrastructure to create a sustainable system.

As part of the program, Geisel and the other medical schools are sending full-time faculty to Rwanda to teach and mentor Rwandan clinicians and health sciences educators—including medical doctors, residents, nurses, and midwives. Geisel has committed to providing physician educators from anesthesia, internal medicine, pediatrics, and surgery specialties to Rwanda each year. The U.S. faculty is supporting clinical residency training programs as well in order to help Rwandan faculty train more doctors and fill gaps in the health-care system. Lisa Adams, MD, a Geisel assistant professor of medicine and associate dean for global health, is principal investigator for the program.   

HRH was developed by the Rwandan Ministry of Health to meet the country’s specific needs and is managed by the Rwandan government. It is supported largely by U.S. aid. After the seven-year program, Rwanda plans to sustain its newly developed health-care workforce on its own without foreign aid.

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