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 the symposium videos. (Descriptions of sessions are below.)

The 16th Global Health Symposium included an invitation for you to consider writing a land acknowledgment to honor the Indigenous people, the history and the present circumstances of where you live. We suggested the following resources to get started:


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 Wednesday, April 14, 2021, from 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m..

“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. The symposium also received funding through an Our Shared Future Heritage Marker Educational Innovation Grant.

6:30-8:00 p.m. Welcome Back, Poster Awards Presentation, Keynote

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.

Read more: Symposium keynote will look to indigenous philosophies as a recipe for living well


The day will feature two panel discussions.

Read more:Global Health Symposium panels welcome many voices to advance health for all

12:00-1:00 p.m. “Indigenous Knowledge, Wisdom & Resilience: Perspectives from Wisconsin’s Native Nations”

Moderator: Danielle Yancey, M.S., director of the Native American Center for Health Professions


  • Gary Besaw, M.S., director, Menominee Tribal Department of Agriculture and Food Systems; former Tribal Chairman
  • Whitney Schreiber, R.N., diabetes nurse educator (Stockbridge-Munsee)
  • Rebecca Webster, J.D., Ph.D., MPA, assistant professor, American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota Duluth (Oneida)

3:00-4:00 p.m. “On the Front Lines for COVID: What We Learned”

Moderator: Janis  P. Tupesis, M.D., an emergency physician and GHI associate director


  • Patrica Tellez-Giron, M.D., associate professor, UW-Madison Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; chair, Latino Health Council
  • Christopher Ford, M.D., education director, Infinity Healthcare, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Bret Benally Thompson, M.D., clinical assistant professor, hematology/oncology, UW-Madison

Virtual Poster Presentations

Poster presentations will be available throughout the day with live Q & A sessions with presenters. There will be a live Q & A with selected presenters from 2:00-2:50 p.m.

1:00-1:45 p.m. Virtual networking with GHI Leadership

  • Associate Director Lori DiPrete Brown, MSPH, MTS, with Health, Sustainable Development and Equity
  • Associate Director James Conway, M.D., with Preventing and Responding to Global Pandemics
  • Christopher Olsen, director of the Graduate/Professional and Capstone Certificates in Global Health Online, with Global Health/One Health: Working and Learning Across Disciplines
  • Director of Advancement Calyn Ostrowski with How to Get Involved at GHI
  • Director Jonathan Patz, M.D., MPH, with Climate Change and Planetary Health
  • Associate Director Janis Tupesis, M.D., with Health Systems: From Wisconsin to the WHO: How it all fits together



If you need accommodation to participate in this event, please email globalhealth@ghi.wisc.edu or call 608-265-9299. All accommodation requests should be made no less than two weeks before the event. We will attempt to fulfill requests made after this date but cannot guarantee they will be met.