Partners In Health (PIH) announced plans for a $200 million Paul E. Farmer Scholarship Fund for students attending the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) in Rwanda, as part of a catalytic commitment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CRI Foundation, and other donors.
The fund, named in honour of PIH Co-founder Dr Paul Farmer, who passed away in February while teaching at UGHE, was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative by PIH chief executive Dr Sheila Davis, UGHE Vice Chancellor Dr Agnes Binagwaho, and Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
As part of her remarks, French Gates announced a $50 million commitment to the fund.
“Everyone everywhere deserves quality medical care,” French Gates said announcing the scholarship on September 19 in New York.
“Providing women equal access to medical careers and opportunities to lead is critical to making meaningful progress in global health. UGHE’s work to develop new generations of African doctors who deeply understand the communities they’ll serve will enhance care from high-tech surgical suites to rural homes.”
The fund will cover the tuition, room, board, and expenses of 3,000 medical students and global health delivery degree candidates over the next 25 years.
“We are proud to build upon Paul’s remarkable legacy with this scholarship fund for UGHE, a revolutionary embodiment of our core values and mission and one that Paul deeply believed in,” said Dr Davis.
Located in a rural community in northern Rwanda, UGHE has a unique focus on the structural forces that influence whether a person is healthy or ill, pairing education in the humanities with rigorous, community based medical training.
“Turning early dreams of UGHE into reality has been intense and remarkable and deeply satisfying,” said Dr Binagwaho. “Seeing our seventh cohort of Master students in caps and gowns this summer was very exciting and knowing that thanks in part to this fund, the university will continue for decades, to graduate, passionate, principled, world-class health leaders the world needs is even more exciting.”