Rwanda Human Resources for Health

Rwanda1Human Resources for Health (HRH) is a joint initiative of the US and Rwanda to build a strong, independent health care delivery system in Rwanda over a period of seven years.  The program is a part of the larger Clinton Global Initiative, established in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton.

The University of Virginia is participating in the areas of Anesthesiology and Surgery, sending physicians to train residents who will go on to provide health care and also to train future residents.

Anesthesiology faculty for HRH is coordinated by three institutions, UVA, Dartmouth, and Harvard.  For the first three years, a total of five anesthesiologists at a time will be working in Rwanda.  US involvement will decrease gradually over the seven years of the HRH program. as the number of Rwandan residents and physicians increases.

First HRH teleconference!

Friday, December 21, was a milestone for UVA’s involvement in HRH Rwanda, as we participated in the first ever teleconference with anesthesiologists of the National University of Rwanda.  Read more about it here.

The teleconference is now a monthly event, usually on the last Friday of the month, starting at 0900 Eastern time.

UVA Anesthesiologists appointed for HRH

In October, 2012, Randal S. Blank, M.D., Ph.D. left for Rwanda, our first anesthesiologist to travel there under the sponsorship of Human Resources for Health.  Dr. Blank was accompanied by Will Cox, M.D., a senior resident at UVA.  (Dr. Cox’s participation was an elective rotation of our residency program, supervised by Dr. Blank, and independent of the HRH program.)

Rwanda2On December 1, 2012, Julia Weinkauf, M.D., began a one-year faculty position with HRH.  Dr. Weinkauf is a recent graduate of the Critical Care Fellowship at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center.  Prior to that, she received her M.D. from the University of Minnesota Medical School and completed an Anesthesiology residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center.  Dr. Weinkauf has previously worked as a volunteer physician in Liberia and Haiti.

Sean Runnels, M.D., begins a one-year Rwanda appointment in September, 2013.  Dr. Runnels received his M.D. degree from Oregon Health and Science University and completed a residency in Anesthesiology from the University of Utah and a cardiac fellowship at the University of Cambridge.  He currently holds a position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah.  He has does global health work in Nepal, India, Bolivia, and Nicaragua.  For the past year, he has served as a medical volunteer with  Mercy Ships, stationed off the coast of West Africa.

Dr. Runnels travels to Kigali with his wife, an obstetrician, and their three children.


Sean Runnels goes over administrative details with HR Manager Heather Weller in a trip to Charlottesville.

Faculty appointments to HRH

The minimum term of appointment is three months, although a commitment of one year is ideal.  Physicians do not have to be affiliated with one of the participating institutions in order to be part of this project.  Physicians from private practice or another institution will be granted a temporary appointment at one of the participating institutions.


The Rwandan Human Resources for Health Program, with partners including Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Minister of Health Agnes Binagwaho, announced a Commitment to Action at the 2012 CGI Annual Meeting. Photo credit: Todd France / Clinton Global Initiative

Press coverage of HRH

  • Special Report in the New England Journal of Medicine, by Rwandan Minister of Health Dr. Agnes Binagwaho.  This article succinctly describes the program, the goals, and why the HRH is a breakthrough for global health.
  • Bill Clinton announces Commitment to Action at 2012 meeting of Clinton Global Initiative
  • McGuffey Art Center hosts Art with a Mission/Charlottesville featuring Rwandan artists
  • Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announces the HRH initiative
  • Announcement in the (Rwanda) New Times, July, 2012
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) newsletter, June 2012 (page 24)
  • Article in the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) Spring/Summer 2012 newsletter


For more information

Marcel Durieux is coordinating UVA’s participation in Anesthesiology. Dr. Durieux’s most recent trip to Rwanda, along with Chief Resident Kristi Rose, was in April, 2012.  They chronicled their adventures, in and out of the OR, on theirblog.

If you would like to be considered as an anesthesiologist for Rwanda Human Resources for Health, contact Dr. Durieux by email or call his office at 434-924-2283.

Helpful websites