The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science

The Visionary

A world in which each and every person has access to scientific information. A country that is wealthy enough to pay for the health care of its own citizens, in which men, women, and children no longer die of preventable diseases. A healthy population living to 80 years old in a peaceful Rwanda.

The Visionary

Agnes Binagwaho, MD, M (Ped)

Pediatrician; Minister of Health of Rwanda; Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth; Senior Lecturer, Harvard Medical School

Agnes Binagwaho began her medical career providing pediatric care in the low-income neighborhoods of Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. She had done her medical training in Belgium and France, but her focus was intensely local: on emergency pediatrics, neonatology, and the treatment of HIV/AIDS in Kigali’s youngest and most vulnerable population. "In global health, you can’t start by thinking only about making the big difference at the country level," she said years later, after she’d been appointed as Rwanda’s Minister of Health and her work had become known throughout the international public health community. “We make a difference for one child. One family. I like to say that global health starts where you put your feet.”

Binagwaho sees no conflict between the demands of her pediatric practice, her research, and her work in public policy. In addition to her affiliation with Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, she serves on numerous international boards and task forces and is a senior lecturer in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. In 2011, she initiated a novel, bi-weekly series of Twitter discussions called “Minister Mondays” in which she engages in conversations about topics ranging from family planning to the need for lower-cost drugs to the role governments should play in their countries’ health care systems. (She tweets in English, French, and Kinyarwanda, the three official languages of Rwanda, and has 10,000 followers.)

“I don’t try to balance the different aspects,” she says. “I see everything as the same thing.”

Her vision of the future? A world in which each and every person has access to scientific information. A country that is wealthy enough to pay for the health care of its own citizens, in which men, women, and children no longer die of preventable diseases. A healthy population living to 80 years old in a peaceful Rwanda.

“We’ve made progress,” she says. “But there’s so much more we can do.”

Hope
Delivered.