Tupesis calls for collaboration to improve global emergency care, takes on new leadership roles

Janis Tupesis stands behind a podium at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health conference.

Janis Tupesis co-organized an emergency medicine satellite session for the Consortium of Universities for Global Health conference.

When it comes to emergency care, Janis Tupesis, M.D., an emergency physician and associate director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute, says it’s time for everyone to work together to save lives across the world.

“Speaking generally, we have universities that study things,” he says. “We have governments that fund things. We have non-governmental organizations that do things. Historically, they haven’t necessarily talked to each other particularly well. That’s an uncoordinated way to work.”

With “The Changing Face of Emergency Care: People, Policy, Politics,” Tupesis will consider the future of emergency care during the April 30 Global Health Tuesday seminar at 5 p.m. in Room 1309 of the Health Sciences Learning Center. He will explore how the world can begin implementing emergency care proposals to make a difference.

Take the recently issued Basic Emergency Care Course from the World Health Organization, for example. The course is free, open access and designed to train a wide variety of health professionals in basic emergency care. “How does that happen?” Tupesis asks. “How do you get the Basic Emergency Care course to 1,000 health centers in Ethiopia? In theory, if the government doesn’t have the capacity, you need to look at partnerships.”

Better emergency care—taking care of everything from road traffic accident and gun injuries to other many other life-threatening conditions—would save millions of lives and prevent much long-term disability, according to a World Health Organizations report from the Director-General to the 77thWorld Health Assembly that meets in Geneva in May. “More than half the deaths and around 40 percent of the total burden or disease in low- and middle-income countries result from conditions that could be treated with prehospital and emergency care. …  People with similar severe injuries, for example, are substantially more likely to die in a low-income setting than they are in a high-income setting.”

Tupesis: A history of engagement, new rolesa Flier for the Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence workshop with Dr. Janis Tupesis as subject matter expert.

Tupesis has worked locally and globally to improve emergency care and graduate medical education. He serves as chairperson of the Graduate Medical Education Global Health committee at the UW-Madison Hospitals and Clinics and works as a volunteer technical consultant at the World Health Organization’s Emergency, Trauma and Acute Care program. He also helped build an open, free-access, online course, “The Practitioners Guide to Global Health,”to help students, researchers and volunteers safely and effectively engage in global health work. He and a team from South Africa used a GHI Seed Grant to develop a mobile app that gives emergency physicians site-specific hospital clinical guidelines to help improve patient care.

Tupesis was recently appointed to serve as chairperson-elect of the American College of Emergency Physicians International Emergency Medicine Section Steering Committee and will assume this role in two years. The section is the largest within the professional organization with  members committed to advancing the cause of global emergency care through engagement, education and partnerships. In the next two to five years, he would like to see the organization better coordinate and educate members of the College who want to be involved in underserved communities, including providing information about cultural awareness and reciprocity.

In February 2019, Tupesis was invited by World Bank to serve as a health care consultant to join an Africa Centers of Excellence Project (ACE-Impact) to develop higher education capacity in West and Central Africa. The World Bank set a priority to improve higher education in Africa five years ago, and this cycle will look at building Centers of Excellence that are integrated into and implement recommendations in local communities, Tupesis says. The project is implemented by the Association of African Universities and looks at developing health systems that will foster opportunities to solve country and regional development challenges. Tupesis serves as one of four health experts overseeing about 25 health Centers of Excellence in countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea and Cameroon.

All of the global work is connected, Tupesis says. “I have been fortunate enough to make it to a point in my career where I can take a little bit of a step back from project implementation and look for more leadership opportunities that will help mentor the next generation in larger scale emergency care health systems projects.”


By Ann Grauvogl/ April 23, 2019