University of Global Health Equity Welcomes Professor Philip Cotton as New Vice Chancellor

Kigali, Rwanda (February 16, 2024) Today the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) is pleased to announce, after an international search, that Professor Philip Cotton will become the university’s next Vice Chancellor, effective April 8.   

Cotton succeeds Dr. Joel M. Mubiligi, who has been appointed Chief Innovation and Growth Planning Officer at Partners In Health (PIH).  

UGHE, an initiative of PIH, is a private, not-for-profit health sciences institution founded in 2015. 

"We are deeply thankful to Dr. Mubiligi for his outstanding service and truly honored to welcome Prof. Philip Cotton as our new Vice Chancellor," said Dr. Joseph Rhatigan, UGHE Chair of the Board of Directors and Associate Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Harvard Medical School. "His exceptional track record of building collaboration, driving innovation in education, and empowering communities through education aligns with UGHE's mission to train the next generation of global health leaders."    

Cotton, a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Rwanda, brings with him a strong commitment to Rwanda and a passion for the ways education can transform students and society. Prior to joining UGHE, he led the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, where he ensured African students with exceptional talent but limited resources had access to financial, social, and academic support.  

Earlier, Cotton helped unify autonomous higher education institutions into a single university, the National University of Rwanda, while he served as Principal of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences and then Vice Chancellor at the University of Rwanda. He practiced family medicine and was professor at Glasgow University, where he served as deputy head of the Undergraduate Medical School, among other roles.  

Cotton is a Methodist preacher, founder of a fair-trade organization, and a trustee and advisor to several groups, including St. Andrews Clinics for Children. In 2017 he received the Order of the British Empire for services to higher education in Rwanda. In 2018 he was awarded the Association for the Study of Medical Education Gold Medal for his outstanding contribution to medical education. And in 2021 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. A graduate of St. Andrews University and Glasgow University, he holds several honorary professorships and is Chair of the Board of Directors of Rwanda Biomedical Centre. 

At UGHE, Cotton will play a key role in advancing the institution's commitment to innovative, equitable, and community-focused global health education.  

In 2023, Times Higher Education ranked UGHE eighth in its Sub-Saharan Africa University Rankings.