Tyler Nelson

2017 Winner

Position: Executive Director
Organization: Health Builders
Current Location: Rwanda, East Africa

Bachelor of Science, Public Health from Brigham Young University

Awards Received:

Health Innovator
Awarding Organization:
Innovations in Health Care, Duke Global Health Institute
Date Awarded:
March 21, 2017

Awarding Organization:
Global Health Corps
Date Awarded:
July 1, 2012

Tyler Nelson serves as Health Builders’ Executive Director and holds a degree in Public Health and International Development from Brigham Young University in the United States. He previously developed and led health initiatives in Tanzania, Nicaragua, and El Salvador for HELP International and has also worked in community development and health programs in Peru, Honduras, Uganda, and Kenya. Tyler most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of Health Builders. He has been working in Rwanda for five years where he lives with his wife and young daughter.

“At age 30 Tyler became Health Builders’ Executive Director, an international NGO that improves access to family planning and other primary health care services for over 1 million Rwandan women, and in his role impacted over 200,000 Honduran women.

– Sydney Price, SVP Corporate Social Responsibility at Kate Spade & Company

Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

As the Executive Director of Health Builders, we’ve expanded access to family planning and maternal health services to over 1 million Rwandan women through health management mentorship, which we’ve implemented in over 100 primary health care centers. We’ve constructed 6 primary health care centers and 2 maternity wards from the ground-up, which has given over 175,000 women access to family planning services who had previously been without, and includes 28,423 safe deliveries and 34,493 prenatal visits. I previously helped guide a GE Foundation MCH initiative in Honduras, which expanded access to care for 300,000 women in remote areas and recently completed the GE Healthymagination Mother & Child program, designed to help social enterprises dedicated to MCH scale to increase impact.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

The inability or resistance to make choices in individuals, particularly women’s, reproductive lives significantly impacts community health and economies. Long before I was a parent myself, I saw the lives of women in my own family as well as across the developing world impacted by choices they did or didn’t have in their own reproductive lives. Deciding between a child’s health, education or daily meal should not be a choice any parent should have to struggle with.

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

We prioritize access to primary health services by improving how those services are managed. Our team strengthens health administrators’ abilities to accurately track and record what services are being provided, coverage rates, and how to plan and budget to provide family planning services into core, affordable basic health services for their populations. Health providers’ ability to bring family planning services out into the community in a safely and effectively is also strengthened.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work?

Partnering with organizations that share our passion for expanding access to health services has been one of our most valuable resources. The ability to share best-practices and collaborate to increase our collective impact is critical to our mission. This grant will support the construction of a new health facility serving over 42,500 Rwandans formerly without access; including over 10,000 women with family planning services and safe deliveries with skilled medical personnel near their homes.

Photos of the nominee in the field/at work