Spring Global Health Tuesday seminars begin January 26

Facing COVID-19 in Ecuador, the intersection of illness and climate change, mental health and planetary health will be explored when the Global Health Tuesday webinars resume on January 26.

Hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute (GHI), the monthly webinars host researchers and practitioners from campus and across the world. The speakers showcase the complexity of global health challenges and the many kinds of expertise needed to address them. By sharing their experiences, these guests provide insights into global health, encourage conversation and help connect colleagues locally and globally.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

March 30, 8:00-9:00 a.m. (NOTE SPECIAL TIME)
“Holistic Healing Within Community: Global Mental Health Perspectives during COVID-19.”


In October 2020, the sixth International East Africa Psychology Conference provided an opportunity for a collaborative learning community to convene in a modified in-person and virtual format under the theme “Holistic Healing Within Community: Bridging Home, School, and the Workplace around The Globe during COVID-19.” The bio-psycho-social model of holistic healing, used to promote psychological well-being in general and particularly in the midst of a pandemic, was central to the conference. Participants reconvene for the webinar to discuss lessons learned and next steps related to mental health and resiliency.

GHI Associate Director Lori DiPrete Brown will moderate the webinar.

Participants include:

  • Sebastian Ssempijja, CEO and clinical director of Sebastian Family Practice, who will explain the history of this collaboration and community
  • Fred Coleman, M.D., UW-Madison clinical faculty and medical director of Kajsiab House, Hmong Refugee Project and the Cambodian Temple Project of the Cambodian Refugee Project, with “Biopsychosocial Models of Holistic Healing, and the Roles of Resilience”
  • Hafsa Sentongo, director of the Mental Health Department in the Ministry of Health, Uganda, with “Holistic Healing in the Community During COVID Times”
  • Tim Ehlinger, associate professor and William Collins Kohler Chair of Systems Chance and Peacebuilding at UW-Milwaukee Partners in Health, with “Engaging Knowledge Equity in Holistic Health and Healing”

April 27, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Planetary Health Graduate Scholars flash talks.


Nine UW-Madison graduate students are this year’s Planetary Health Graduate Scholars in fields as diverse as biomedical engineering, educational policy and community and environmental sociology.

January 26, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
“COVID-19 in Ecuador

Avriel Rose Diaz, executive director of Walking Palms Global Health in Bahia De Caraquez, Ecuador, will discuss measures taken in Ecuador with a focus on the city of Bahia de Caraquez, located in the Manabi Province. “The pandemic caught global health systems off-guard, in part because governments lacked adequate Disaster Risk and Response plans,” Diaz says. “In both developed and developing countries, slow and inadequate responses to the crisis exacerbated virus transmission, illness and fatality, and worsened acute economic contractions which disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable populations.” Diaz will identify how national and regional municipalities reacted to the crisis, and how those actions impacted interconnected social and economic systems essential to maintaining quality public health. The coastal province of Manabi is under the constant threat of earthquakes, floods and mudslides, exacerbating health challenges.

Diaz co-founded Walking Palms Global Health in 2016 in the aftermath of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Ecuador. She is a systems ecologist with a master’s degree in Evolution, Ecology and Conservation Biology with a focus in Infectious Diseases from Columbia University. Her specialization in natural disasters, mosquito-borne illnesses and public health forms the basis for the scientific research conducted by Wild Palms. She has collaborated with UW-Madison’s Lyric Bartholomay on Mosquitos y Yo, a program to teach children about insect-borne diseases.

February 23, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
“What’s Next For COVID-19?”

GHI Director Jonathan Patz, M.D., MPH, and Professor of Pathobiological Sciences Kristen Bernard, Ph.D., M.S., DVM,  join Associate Professor of Population Health Sciences Ajay Sethi , Ph.D., MHS, in a discussion about lessons learned from COVID-19 and preparing for the next pandemic. The panelists—who come from population health/epidemiology, global health/climate science and pathobiological sciences/zoonoses—explore what’s been learned from the coronavirus epidemic in 2020 and the challenges still facing the world as it attempts to control COVID-19 in 2021. They also look to the future, considering the impacts of climate change and animal-to-human disease transmission as they discuss what’s needed to prevent the next pandemic.

Patz, M.D., MPH,  the John P. Holton Chair of Health and the Environment, is a recognized leader in the field of climate change and health and has worked as a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a c0-chair of the U.S. National Assessment on Climate Change. He has appointments in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Population Health Sciences.

Sethi, Ph.D., MHS, is in the School of Medicine and Public Health. His research interests lie in the study of infectious disease, especially modifiable behavioral and structural factors associated with transmission and death once infections are established.

Bernard, DVM, M.S., Ph.D., is in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Her research looks to further the understanding of the virus-host interaction with an aim to develop new therapies and vaccines.