Midwest Universities for Global Health coming to UW-Madison

Workers in HazMat suits carry the coffin of an Ebola victim.

From "In the Shadow of Ebola," Ebola burial workers in Monrovia disinfect the body of a person who died of Ebola. (Photo by Alexander Wiaplah.)

The Midwest Universities for Global Health (MUGH) conference convenes for the first time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14.

Hosted by the UW-Madison Global Health Institute (GHI), the conference brings together faculty, staff and students from 20 academic institutions across the Midwest, from Minnesota to Missouri, Iowa to Indiana. A Friday night screening of the film, “In the Shadow of Ebola,” by UW-Madison Professor Gregg Mitman is open to the public. It will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker and a reception.

The Saturday conference is a working meeting for colleagues involved in academic global health. The day will include panel discussions on undergraduate, graduate and interdisciplinary academic global health programs. UW-Madison Provost Karl Scholz will welcome participants to Saturday’s meeting.

“Global Health is an important part of the academic mission of UW-Madison, and bringing MUGH to campus allows us to showcase our programs and collaborate with our peers,” says Janis Tupesis, GHI associate director and a conference organizer. “The conference brings together active global health practitioners to share knowledge and best practices. Together, we can move forward to train tomorrow’s global health leaders and improve health in Wisconsin, the Midwest and the world.”

Friday evening’s film screening and the Saturday conference are partially made possible thanks to a gift from the Evjue Foundation.


Gregg Mitman, a filmmaker and William Coleman Professor of the History of Science, produced “In the Shadow of Ebola” in the wake of the 2015 Ebola crisis in Liberia and neighboring countries. The documentary weaves together a family’s personal story with the story of a nation, as Liberian perspectives and voices some together to connect Ebola’s long-lasting effects across borders. The film becomes especially relevant in 2019 as the World Health Organization declares an Ebola Emergency in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. at the School of Nursing in Signe Skott Cooper Hall. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Mitman and includes Linda Vakunta, executive director of Project 1808 that has worked extensively in Sierra Leone, and Mosoka Fallah, one of the Liberia health workers featured in the film.

The evening is free and open to the public. Tickets are limited, and registration is required by Aug. 23. Walk-ins are welcome.


The Saturday meeting for faculty, staff and students will be from 8:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. in Union South. The day’s panels include: Best Practices in Undergraduate Global Health Programming, Best Practices in Graduate Global Health Programming and Best Practices in Interdisciplinary Global Health Programming.

The panelists are medical practitioners and educators from UW-Madison and MUGH institutions. They include GHI Associate Directors Chris Olsen, Jim Conway, Lori DiPrete Brown and Janis Tupesis and GHI Advisory Committee member Sabrina Butteris. Nikki St. Clair from the Department of Pediatrics and Kevin Wyne from the Physician Assistant program will also present.

Stephen Hargarten from the Medical College of Wisconsin will lead a noon discussion about the future direction of MUGH, looking at goals, objectives and structure. The day closes with a look to MUGH’s future.

Registration is closed: for the Saturday conference is $40 ($20 for students). Registration is required by Aug. 23. For more information about the conference, click here.

By Ann Grauvogl / August 8, 2019