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Global Citizen Spotlight: Dr. Janis Tupesis, M.D.

May 01, 2022

Ria Jacob

Man in white shirt and black tie.


SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

In Spring of 2022, one of my fellow global scholars and I had the pleasure of interviewing and presenting Dr. Janis Tupesis. We were lucky enough to have had the opportunity to meet virtually through Zoom with Dr. Tupesis and get to know him and his mission before he came to speak to our entire cohort about what he does and who he is.

Coming into the Zoom session, I did not know what to expect. It was my first time interviewing someone and presenting them in front of a class. Though I did not know exactly what to expect at first, I was wildly impressed by Dr. Tupesis and came out of the call excited to get to know more about him and the presentation he would be giving to the class.

Dr. Tupesis is part of the Emergency Medicine faculty at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health and is one of the Associate Directors of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Global Health Institute. He is also involved in projects that include establishing graduate medical education programs in resource limited settings in Liberia, Ethiopia, and South Africa. He serves on multiple international global health education committees, including the International Federation of Emergency Medicine (IFEM), African Federation of Emergency Medicine (AFEM), American College of Emergency Medicine (ACEP), and the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Tupesis is a volunteer with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Some of the main questions we wanted to ask Dr. Tupesis were why and/or how he decided to take the extra step and take his practice to a more global scale, rather than staying at one clinic or hospital like most other doctors do. We were also interested in what type of responsibilities he might have had during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how his work life was further affected by the pandemic. Finally, we were curious about what he did in countries such as Liberia, Ethiopia, and South Africa to set up graduate medical educational programs.

During his presentation he gave to the class, he went over his entire life thus far. He began by explaining his childhood and how his father was a political figure, which was how he first got interested in global issues and became globally connected. He then explained his story from becoming a student in medical school to a physician who travels for work, being so globally connected and a part of so many international committees. I, personally, really appreciated how he went through his life story. As an aspiring physician myself, it sometimes can seem daunting with how many mega success stories you hear of some doctors and the amount of years it takes to complete school. However, the way Dr. Tupesis humbly explained everything really showed me how he did it, which made the process seem a lot less intimidating and more exciting.

One of the lessons I learned and loved the most from his presentation was the power of saying ‘yes.’ He explained how he first got connected to the world of medicine on such a global scale by saying yes to accompanying one of his friends who was planning a trip to Africa to meet a political leader. From this experience, he then was able to meet several world leaders and leaders in the field which allowed him to get more involved. This story of his really taught me to be open to any opportunity life may present, since it could potentially be the gateway to more adventures in the future.

Overall, it was such a unique experience to hear from someone so established in the field speak about how they combined two of my own personal interests of health care and global connectedness in their own life. It was especially inspiring to hear his personal anecdotes and see how much he has given back to several communities across the world.

Ria Jacob

2021 Cohort

Tupesis, Janis P. Global Health Institute. (6854, January 1). Retrieved April 27, 2022, from

Good Health and Well-Being