2021 Global Health Symposium connects indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge

Three photos along the top show a woman with a vaccine neeld, a woman in a Peruvian field and a woman at a microscope.

Watch this page for updates on the symposium.

With its 16th Global Health Symposium, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute invites Indigenous scholars and community members to share the many ways to advance health across the world. They will join faculty, staff, clinicians and students from the UW-Madison community who will present their global research, education and outreach projects. The symposium will be a day-long virtual event on April 14, 2021.

“Fostering Resilience Through Indigenous Wisdom & Scientific Knowledge” will explore the intersection of traditional practices that advance well-being and academic research, education and outreach projects that also promote health. It will bring together representatives from Wisconsin’s Native Nations, global indigenous communities and the university to showcase the complexities of health challenges and the many kinds of expertise needed to address them. The Native American Center for Health Professions in the School of Medicine and Public Health is co-sponsoring the event.

UW-Madison faculty, staff, clinicians and students are invited to submit abstracts for virtual poster presentations by February 15. Submissions are welcome for projects from across campus, from veterinary medicine to education, human health to environmental studies, and more.

New this year: Best Student Virtual Poster Competition

GHI will award four $500 scholarships for the best student posters. All currently enrolled students—undergraduate, graduate and professional—are eligible.

Virtual Poster and Best Student Virtual Poster Competition Guidelines


Mariaelena Huambachano, Ph.D., M.A., an assistant professor in Civil Society and Community Studies in the School of Human Ecology, will present the keynote address, “Resistance and Resilience: Indigenous philosophies of collective-being as a recipe to living well.” An indigenous scholar, she is a native of Peru and has strong cultural connections to Aotearoa, New Zealand, where she has lived and worked closely with the Māori of Aotearoa on issues of food sovereignty, sustainability and justice. She is also lead author of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Values Assessment of Nature and delegate of the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples’ Issues.


The day will feature two panel discussions.

  • Danielle Yancey, M.S., director of the Native American Center for Health Professions, will moderate “Indigenous Knowledge, Wisdom & Resilience: Perspectives from Wisconsin’s Native Nations.”
  • Janis  P. Tupesis, M.D., an emergency physician and GHI associate director, will moderate “On the Front Line for COVID: What We Learned.”

Virtual Poster Presentations

Poster presentations will be available throughout the day with live Q & A sessions with presenters.