Board Members

PGHIG Board Members 2021-2022

Elise Brennan



Picture in Iceland

Countries traveled to include Canada, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, England, France, Belgium, and Netherlands.

  • I am interested in Global Health because I would like to work with diverse population within my career as a pharmacist.

  • I was looking forward to going to Thailand for my field course, but due to COVID, the trip was cancelled. I am now looking forward to doing an independent research project in the Infectious Disease Department at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee to fulfill the requirement.

Salma Abdelwahab



Picture in Aswan, Egypt

Countries travelled to include Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Malaysia, UAE, Australia, and South Africa.

  • While interning at a large pharma company, I focused on emerging markets in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and countries in Africa for the company’s emerging drug pipeline. Many of the drugs were for non-communicable diseases, and I learned they were prevalent at all income levels with similar social factors at play. I also gained insight on health systems all over the world which continued to expand into the private and public health sectors when I studied abroad in Australia for 6 months. Both of these experiences motivated me to pursue a Global Health Certificate to learn more about other countries’ healthcare systems, the social determinants that impact them, and how they all affect each other when looking at it from a global lens.
  • I’m really looking forward to my APPE rotation with Vivent Health in MKE, where I’ll be completing a population health project from a global-local-global (glocal) lens that will hopefully aid the organization’s mission in improving the lives of people affected by HIV.

Ellie Valentine



Picture in Cayambe, Ecuador

Countries already traveled to include Ecuador and Spain, but I would also love to explore other countries such as Spain, Brazil, and Germany!

  • In my undergrad at UW-Madison, I chose to complete the Global Health Certificate and it ended up being one of my favorite topics to learn about! I hope to be able to visit many other countries both for pleasure and on mission trips, and bring my pharmacy knowledge along this time. While in Ecuador, we visited the small community of La Calera and learned from the local women, as well as a shaman, about how they maintain their health and heal when they’re sick. It was a life-changing experience and I am so glad I had the opportunity to study abroad there!


Rachel Russ


Global Health Liaison

Picture in Swiss Alps

Countries travelled to include Belize, Costa Rica, Spain, France, UK, Scotland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Greece, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Russia, South Africa

  • Why you’re interested in global health: Health and culture go hand in hand. A person’s experiences and way of life are directly linked to their health the way they make decisions regarding their health. I think it is incredibly interesting and important to learn about other cultures in order to provide the best care we can as health providers. Travel has been a huge part of my life growing up and being able to combine that with my studies and professional interests is very exciting. 

Ariana Double



Picture in Honduras

Countries travelled to include Honduras, Belize, St. Lucia, Mexico, Aruba, Caribbean Islands, and Puerto Rico.

  • I am interested in Global Health because I attended a Spanish Immersion growing up, so learning about other cultures and populations has been a focus of mine since I was young. I love exploring new places and experiencing new cultures. 

  • My favorite global health experience was my 7-day medical brigade to Honduras where we improved access to care to a very rural and underserved population. 

Emma Behan


Co-Director of Community Outreach

Picture in Norway

Countries traveled to include Colombia, Ecuador, Morocco, Cambodia, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, India, Turkey, Canada, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Germany, Hungry, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, England, Vatican City, Panama

  • I am interested in global health because it is an opportunity to empower others not overpower. The idea of connecting to someone from a different background is a core value in the healthcare and pharmacy occupation. It is my belief that practitioners need to understand not only the patient’s symptoms but their lived experience as well. This is especially true in our exponentially growing diverse, multicultural society. Though we all have been born into different cultures by the virtue of the lottery of life, I am motivated to ensure that the system of genetic luck and privilege is not exacerbated by operating as an ego- and ethnocentric pharmacist.

  • Global health experiences can be found any where we look. As I finish my academic tenure and embark on my professional career, I hope to learn more about the intersect between climate change and health outcomes. 


Luke Schwerer


Co-Director of Community Outreach

Picture in Trogir, Croatia

Countries traveled to include Canada, Mexico, Slovenia, Hungary, Finland, Netherlands, Iceland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Croatia, France

  • I am interested in Global Health because I am passionate about working on issues that transcend national boundaries, with a focus on under-served populations that are impacted the most. I feel that understanding cultural differences among populations are key in determining how people approach health and healthcare. Learning more about pharmacy and health services in other countries is not only important to help improve health in those communities, but also formulate ideas on how to improve health care systems back home. 

  • Although International APPE were unfortunately cancelled for this year, I am really looking forward to my research rotation at the University of Utah that will include researching medication treatment options in countries across the globe.

Cynthia May


Student Senate Representative

Countries travelled to include the Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, and Mexico.

  • I’ve been interested in global health since hearing a presentation about global health research being done through the school of pharmacy. I previously had no idea that pharmacists from Wisconsin were able to make such a difference nationally and internationally through a focus on global health. Having lived in three different states now, I love the idea of learning about healthcare systems in other places and applying those principles to make healthcare better for everyone. The chance to participate in an international APPE also really drew me to UW-Madison. Although the pandemic has interfered with this opportunity, I’ve still loved hearing other students talk about their experiences while completing these APPEs in the past. I plan to seek out opportunities in the future to be involved with global health projects happening around the world, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying learning through PGHIG’s events.


Nora Pecha



Picture in the Smoky Mountains

Countries I am interested in travelling to include Iceland, Morocco, Thailand, and Germany. 

  • As I completed undergraduate courses relating to international healthcare systems and understanding the various powers involved in healthcare system infrastructure, I have gained a new perspective as to how many variables account for health outcomes in populations. Although I have not been able to participate in any international pharmacy experiences yet, I am excited to have the opportunity to enroll in the faculty-led field course and travel during a future semester!