M a r k e t N e w s

Cummings Foundation hosts Rwandan university executive director

Posted on : Thursday, 6th October 2016

 Cummings Foundation recently hosted a dinner for Peter Drobac, executive director of University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda. Drobac shared an update about UGHE, a brand new health sciences university that has received substantial funding from Woburn-based Cummings Foundation.

The group of 10 that gathered at New Horizons at Choate for the intimate dinner and presentation from Drobac included Cummings Foundation founders Joyce and Bill Cummings, foundation trustee Arlan “Skip” Fuller Jr. and his wife, Alice, Cummings Properties president and CEO Dennis Clarke and his wife, Alicia, foundation Executive Director Joel Swets, and foundation Associate Executive Director Joyce Vyriotes and her husband, Paul.
According to Drobac, who had flown in from Rwanda the morning of the dinner, UGHE just launched the second academic year for its Master of Science in Global Health Delivery Program, which is offered with support from Harvard University and Tufts University. The 25 incoming students hail from six countries: Australia, Burundi, Mexico, Nepal, Rwanda and the United States.
UGHE is operated by Partners In Health, a Boston-based organization founded by Paul Farmer that brings health care to the world’s poorest areas. The idea for the groundbreaking school originated during Joyce and Bill Cummings’ August 2013 trip to East Africa, where they attended a meeting that brought together experts in the fields of dentistry and health care delivery, including Drobac, faculty from National University of Rwanda and Harvard University, and the executive vice president of Tufts University, Patricia Campbell.
Cummings Foundation had previously offered to assist in building a dental clinic in Butaro in northern Rwanda. Upon learning that a new medical school was being considered at the same location, however, Bill Cummings suggested an expanded vision for such an institution.
“We proposed a university that was pan-African — rather than only Rwandan — and one that would have students from multiple health science disciplines, including veterinary medicine, dentistry and nursing, all learning and working side by side,” said Cummings.
A few months after their trip to Rwanda, Cummings emailed several people at PIH and Tufts, as well as in Rwanda, with further thoughts on a university that would attract the best students from other African nations — and beyond — and help Rwanda fulfill its potential to become an economic and educational hub for Africa.
“What a great vision, and one that squares with the Rwandan vision of pulling people up by building a ‘knowledge’ economy while delivering care,” wrote Farmer, in response. “And what better way to promote peace, justice, and development in the region?”
Cummings Foundation committed $15 million toward Phase I of what is now UGHE, and then was instrumental in raising a matching amount from other donors.
UGHE will begin offering executive education programs next month, and it recently began construction of its brand new 250-acre campus, to be located in Rwanda’s rural Burera district. When complete in 2018, it will house 1,200 students, plus many medical professionals from around the world who will teach the students not only how to treat patients but also how to build health care systems. In future construction phases, a second campus will be built in Masaka, just outside the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
“Joyce and I were delighted to support UGHE in a significant way because of our great confidence in PIH’s ability to work with the Rwandan government to bring about meaningful change in the way health care is taught and delivered,” said Cummings.
The Cummings plan to travel to Rwanda for their third time in early 2018, when UGHE’s Butaro campus is closer to completion

Source : /woburn.wickedlocal.com
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