The Global Surgery Initiative is just one of many opportunities available in Rwanda. GSI seeks to stimulate partnerships, education, and academic growth in the field of global surgery. To acheive this we've partnered with the Department of Surgery at UVa to improve and advance medical conditions in the area. 

Partner Details

Location: Primarily Butare and Kigali

Partner Program: UVA Global Surgery Initiative & independent research projects 

Program Time Frames: 3-8 weeks on average

Length of Time as a Partner: since 2009

Envisioned Projects: While the partnership in Rwanda is focused primarily on medical residents following the Global Health Leadership Track in Surgery, independent, collaborative research opportunities in Rwanda are open to students with interests outside of medicine and surgery. If you have an interest in a research opportunity please contact us so we can help you find a mentor or opportunity. 

Are you a Surgery Resident? Global Health Leadership Track in Surgery is open to all interested surgery residents, with applications accepted normally during the 2nd clinical year of training.  The commitment includes a curriculum component (GME certificate in public health or masters, international rounds and dinners with other GHLT programs), international rotation, and scholarly presentation. Contact Us to learn more. 

Opportunities for involvement in Rwanda are also open to students outside of the medical and surgical disciplines. 

Program History

The UVA Global Surgery Initiative seeks to stimulate partnerships, education, and academic growth in the field of global surgery by creating mentorship opportunities for students, residents, and faculty. The goal is to connect with the public health community as it relates to health systems development, and affordable surgical care.

UVA acute care and trauma surgeon Dr. Forrest Calland and surgical resident Dr. Robin Petroze first traveled to Rwanda in October 2009 at the invitation of the Ministry of Health to explore ways in which the Department of Surgery at UVA could partner with Rwandan surgeons to improve training and research. Dr. Petroze then moved to Rwanda for two years as a Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellow to research the burden of surgical disease and advocate with local health officials and surgeons for improved surgical delivery.

In August of 2012, the Rwandan government announced the start of an innovative partnership—The Human Resources for Health (HRH) plan—with the US government and 13 U.S. medical, nursing, and public health schools to expand training opportunities in Rwanda. Dr. Calland has spearheaded the involvement of the UVA School of Medicine in the HRH program, and over the next seven years, UVA will recruit and mentor up to four surgeons and two anesthesiologists to relocate to Rwanda for a year to train Rwandan physicians.

Rwanda map


Rwanda is a small, but densely populated land-locked country in sub-Saharan Africa. Healthcare improvement initiatives in Rwanda focus on a decentralized approach to healthcare that concentrates on a strong network of community health workers and a socialized national health insurance policy.