April 20, 2024

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University of Global Health Equity Rwanda Holds White Coat Ceremony, Emphasizes Focus on Global Health Equity

By Emmanuel Mutangana

The University of Global Health Equity held a colorful White Coat ceremony at its campus in Butaro, marking an important milestone for the third cohort of MBBS students as they transition into the clinical phase of their education

In an interview with the media, the UGHE Interim Vice Chancellor Dr. Joel Mubiligi explained the importance of the event and how the university is contributing to global health equity.

Dr. Mubirigi emphasized the significance of the White Coat Ceremony, stating that it symbolizes the students’ transition to interacting with patients and learning the art of consulting, treating, and accompanying them.

He highlighted the importance of advocating for patients’ access to healthcare, which aligns with the university’s mission to promote global health equity.

“As a national government institution, the University of Global Health Equity Rwanda aims to produce graduates who will contribute back to society.” he said.

Students are appointed to district hospitals across the country to practice for a contract period, ensuring that they play a role in addressing healthcare challenges, such as those posed by COVID-19.

The Uniqueness of the UGHE Education

Dr. Mubirigi also outlined the unique aspects of the university’s training program, which includes a focus on social medicine, social determinants of health, community engagement, leadership, and research.

“By exposing students to these concepts from their first year and throughout their training, the university aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of health and equip students with the skills needed to address complex health issues.” He said.

Dr. Joel M. Mubiligi, the Interim Vice Chancellor at UGHE

During his speech at the event, Dr. Mubiligi also acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead but encouraged the students to see them as opportunities for growth and learning.

 “The path ahead won’t be paved with ease. Resource limitations, ethical dilemmas, and the weight of expectations will test your resolve. But always remember that challenges present opportunities.” Dr. Mubiligi said

Elizabeth Bradley, President of Vassar College, praised the unique model of UGHE, stating that it is not only applicable in Africa but also in higher-income settings around the globe.

She noted that the university’s approach to training healthcare professionals is shaping the future of global health equity and paving the way for a more just and equitable healthcare system.

As he addressed the participants, Prof. Abebe Bekele, Dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, delivers words of wisdom to the students as they embark on this exciting phase in their medical journey!

“As you don this coat, remember: with great power comes great responsibility…”.

Speaking on behalf of her classmates, Ada Mola, Class Representative, expressed their commitment to continuing the legacy of Dr. Paul Farmer, UGHE’s late chancellor.

She emphasized their shared goal of fighting inequities in healthcare and striving for health equity for all, echoing Dr. Farmer’s belief that “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.”

“We are not here today because we are the smartest but because we share a common goal with our late chancellor, Dr. Paul Farmer, to fight the inequities in healthcare. Just like him, my classmates and I are determined to overcome these inequities.” Ms. Ada Mola said.

“As our late Chancellor, Paul Farmer puts it, “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” By this, I’d like to remind us of the core principle that drives our shared UGHE’s mission—health equity for all.” Ada added.

The third cohort of MBBS students, who are set to graduate in 2028.

Congratulatory Message from the University’s Chancellor

UGHE Chancellor, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, congratulated the medical students on completing their basic science studies and welcomed them to the family of clinicians in a virtual address. Despite not being able to be there in person, Dr. Kim expressed his pride and confidence in each student, highlighting the superior education they are receiving at UGHE.

UGHE Chancellor, Dr. Jim Yong Kim

Dr. Kim emphasized the importance of understanding the social determinants of health and wellness, as well as the privilege of doing core clerkships in hospitals that care for the poorest patients regardless of their ability to pay.

He commended Rwanda’s commitment to universal access to healthcare and the hospitals’ dedication to providing high-quality care to all patients.

In closing, Dr. Kim expressed his pride in the students’ growth as physician leaders and encouraged them to make the transition to clinical medicine with confidence. He thanked the students for their hard work and dedication, assuring them that they are prepared for this next step in their medical careers.

The University of Global Health Equity is a health sciences university in Rwanda. An initiative of Partners In Health, UGHE is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institution.

It has has the bold mission “to radically change the way health care is delivered around the world by training generations of global health professionals who strive to deliver more equitable, quality health services for all.”

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