About Me

Prof. Agnes Binagwaho, MD, MD (Ped), PhD, is a Rwandan pediatrician and the co-founder and the retired Vice Chancellor and of the University of Global Health Equity (2017-2022) in Rwanda. In 1996, she returned to Rwanda where she provided clinical care in the public sector as well as held many positions including the position of Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health of Rwanda from October 2008 until May 2011 and Minister of Health from May 2011 until July 2016. She has been a Professor of Global Health Delivery Practice since 2016 and a Professor of Pediatrics since 2017 at the University of Global Health Equity. She resides in Kigali.

Personal Life and Education

Professor Binagwaho was born in Nyamagabe, Southern Province, Rwanda. When she was three years old, she and her family moved to Belgium, where her father was completing his medical degree (MD).

Professor Binagwaho completed her Medical Degree (MD) in General Medicine at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (1976-84) and her Masters Degree in Pediatrics (MA) at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale (1989-93). In 2010, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science (Hon. D.Sc.) from Dartmouth College. In 2014, she became the first person to earn a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Rwanda. Professor Binagwaho’s PhD Dissertation was titled, “Children’s Right to Health in the Context of the HIV Epidemic: The Case of Rwanda.”

To increase her skills in health service delivery, research, and program management, Professor Binagwaho has completed a number of academic certificates. She earned a Certificate of Tropical Medicine from the Institute of Tropical Medicine at Anvers, Belgium (1984-85). At the University de Bretagne Occidentale Professor Binagwaho completed three certificates: a Certificate in Axiology (General Emergencies) (1991-1992); a Certificate in Pediatric Emergencies (1992-1993); and a Certificate in HIV Patient Care and Treatment (1994-1995). She also completed a training program in AIDS prevention and surveillance studies in Kigali, Rwanda through the World AIDS Foundation, hosted by the University of New Mexico School of Medicine’s Health Sciences Center (July-August 1997), a certificate in Health and Human Rights – Dimensions and Strategies with InWEnt – Capacity Building International (Internationale Weiterbildung und Entwicklung gGmbH) and the World Health Organization (2009-2010), and a Social and Behavioral Research Investigators Certificate by the US-based organization Citi Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative.

Honors and Awards

Professor Binagwaho received the 2015 Roux Prize and the 2015 Ronald McDonald House Charities Award of Excellence. In 2015, she was honored to give a David E. Barmes Global Health Lecturer for the National Institutes of Health. She was also named as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans women for 2020 and 100 Most Influential African women for 2021. In 2017, she became a Resident Policy Fellow for The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. In 2018, she received the Universal Health Coverage Country Leadership Award. She was named among the 100 Most Influential African Women for 2020 and for 2021. Recently, she won the prize of L’ORÉAL-UNESCO for women in science international award for her remarkable contribution towards the improvement of the Rwandan health system. In her role as Co-Chair of the first conference on public health in Africa, she was awarded with the achievement of “Global Health Leadership”. More recently, she was nominated in the Apolitical’s 100 Most Influential Academics in Government in the policy area of “Recovery from Covid-19 — Global Health” and  she was also recognized among the “Standout voices in African Public Health” for her advocacy for Global health equity and social justice.

Current Activities

Since 2008, Binagwaho has been a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.[28] She is also a Professor of the Practice of Global Health Delivery and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda as well as an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.[29] Currently, Professor Binagwaho serves as a faculty affiliate to the Center for African Studies[30] at Harvard University.

In 2019, she joined the Rockefeller Foundation board of trustees[31] and became a member of the executive advisory board for the Wellcome Trust Global Monitor.[32]

In 2022, she became a member of the Global Advisory Board  for the Economist Impact project on Confidence in Scientific Research, a member of the community of trustees for the Cummings Foundation[33] and a board member for the International Center for Research on Women.

Since 2010, Binagwaho has served as a member of the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries.[34] Binagwaho is a member of the joint scientific committee for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations/ China Ministry of Science and Technology.[35] Binagwaho is a member of the Africa Europe Strategy Group on Health [36] and serves on the Women Leaders Network at the Africa Europe Foundation.

She is a member of the Science Innovation Platform for Rwanda. She serves as the co-chair of the expert panel of the Commonwealth Road Safety Initiative.[37] She serves as chair for the steering committee for the Clearly Research Program. Since 2021, she serves as co-chair for the International Conference for Public Health in Africa.[38] She also recently joined the Scientific committee organizing the 5th Edition of the Forum Galien Afrique.

Binagwaho also serves as the co-chair of the Science & Strategic Advisory Council (SSAC) for the International Covid-19 Data Research Alliance [39] and as co-chair for the Global Health and Covid-19 Task Force for the T20.[40] Since 2021, she is a member of the African Commission on COVID-19 for the African Union. Most recently, Professor Binagwaho joined as advisor for the Stanford Research Coordinating Center to Support Climate Change and Health Community of Practice.

Binagwaho is a member of the Editorial Board for the Health and Human Rights[41] and the Health Economics and Management Review.[42] She also serves on the editorial team of Annals of Global Health[43] and on the editorial board of the International Journal Of Health Policy And Management.[44] Since 2017, Binagwaho has been on the editorial board for the East African health research journal[45] and a member of the editorial board for the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.[46]

Prof. Agnes Binagwaho co-led a non-partisan panel that included 386 multidisciplinary contributors from 112+ countries and published specific statements and recommendations to end COVID-19 as a public health threat in the journal Nature (November 2022). 

Binagwaho is a fellow at The African Academy Of Sciences,[47] the National Academy Of Medicine in the United States.[48] Recently, under the umbrella of the National Academy of Sciences, Medicines and Engineering she has become a member of the Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education.[49] She is also a fellow for The World Academy of Sciences(TWAS)[50] for the Advancement Of Science In Developing Countries where she serves on the TWAS Policy Development and Future Action (PDFA) Committee for the year 2021-2022.

Previous Positions

Academic Positions:

Prof. Binagwaho is the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity (2017-2022).

National Positions:

Professor Binagwaho served as the Minister of Health of Rwanda (May 2011- July 2016).  Prior to this, she served as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health of Rwanda (October 2008-May 2011) and as the Executive Secretary of Rwanda’s National AIDS Control Commission (2002–2008).

Professor Binagwaho was the chair of the Rwandan Steering Committee for the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (2002-2008). During that period, she was also responsible for the management of the World Bank MAP Project in Rwanda. In addition, Professor Binagwaho served on The Global Fund’s Rwanda Country Coordinating Mechanism, first as a Member (2002-2008) and then as Chair (2008-2011). Professor Binagwaho was a Member of the Rwandan High Level Implementation Committee of the Aid Policy (2009-2010).

Editorial Boards:

Professor Binagwaho has served on the editorial board of Public Library of Science (PLOS) (2009-17) and the International Advisory Board for Lancet Global Health Journal (2013-15).

International Task Forces, Groups, and Committees:

Professor Binagwaho was a member of the United Nations Tracking and Accountability Working Group (2010) and the Joint Action Plan for Women’s and Children’s Health as a Member of the Innovation Working Group. She was also a participant in The Global Fund’s Policy and Strategy Committee (2009-2010).

Professor Binagwaho was a member of the Steering Committee for the Multi-Country Support Program on SSR/HIV/AIDS (2004-09) and the Advisory Body of the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In 2004, Professor Binagwaho was also a member of the Time magazine’s Health Advisory Board. Professor Binagwaho served as a Founding Board Member of the Tropical Institute of the Community Health and Development in Africa, (2002-11) based in Kisumu, Kenya.

Prof. Agnes served on the board of AMP Health from 2018-2021. She was also a member of UNESCO Global Independent Expert Group on the Universities and the 2030 agenda from 2020-2021. She was in 2021 a member of the Expert Advisory Group (NCD Agenda-Setting Paper) for the Non Communicable Disease Alliance.

For more information, please visit Professor Binagwaho’s Wikipedia page.