Emory students take on French health reforms in Global Health Case Competition

By Rebecca Baggett | Emory Report | Feb. 6, 2013

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From left to right:
Alexis Coppola, Abhimanyu Raina, Jeffrey Holzberg, Brittany Schriver, Rony Jose, and Joyelle Fleming. Photo courtesy of the Emory Global Health Institute.

Imagine being asked to help France's Union for a Popular Movement party create health system reforms that:

  • provide high quality care to the country's increasingly diverse and aging population;
  • are financially sustainable; and
  • are politically appealing to a population opposed to austerity measures.

Imagine developing these health reform strategies when your political party has just been defeated and the general population is averse to any health system changes despite the fact that the system faces financial collapse if no reforms are undertaken.

This is what 12 multidisciplinary teams comprised of students from across Emory were asked to do during the Intramural Emory Global Health Case Competition held at the Rollins School of Public Health Feb. 1-2. The teams had four days to research the case and develop their recommendations before presenting them to a panel of nine judges.

The winning team, which included students from five different Emory schools, recommended a two-pronged approach to reform that included increasing preventive and well-care services to populations living in "health deserts," areas where access to health care is low, and increasing palliative care services to France's aging and disabled populations. Funding for these services would be made available by taking 5 percent of funds currently used to treat chronic illnesses, with the expectation that the new preventive services would decrease the size of France's chronically ill population.

First-place team members include:

  • Alexis Coppola, Laney Graduate School

  • Joyelle Fleming, Emory College

  • Jeffrey Holzberg, Emory University School of Medicine and Masters of Science in Clinical Research Program

  • Rony Jose, Rollins School of Public Health

  • Abhumanyu Raina, Goizueta Business School

  • Brittany Schriver, Rollins School of Public Health

"I was not expecting a case that focused heavily on health policy. I was expecting more of a disease-based case – I think we all were. But it was a pleasant surprise and offered unique challenges," says Holzberg.

Judges included experts from the French Consulate in Atlanta, faculty from the Rollins School of Public Health, the Goizueta Business School, and the Emory School of Medicine, and health care consultants from the Boston Consulting Group and Results for Development Institute.

Competitions as learning experiences

The Emory Global Health Institute and its Student Advisory Committee coordinate two Emory Global Health Case Competitions annually – the intramural competition and a larger international competition that includes the winning Emory team from the intramural competition and 23 guest university teams. The purpose of the competitions, which are in their fifth year, is to provide an innovative learning experience by bringing together diverse groups of students to address a real-world global health challenge in both a collaborative and competitive environment.

"I could not be more proud of being a member of our community. Our students are extraordinary – their passion, intellect and commitment are second to none, and the energy to create, manage and support this wonderful event is inspiring," says Brad Killaly, a Goizueta Business School faculty member who served as a judge during the competition.

The first-place students from the intramural competition will represent Emory on March 23 in the International Emory Global Health Case Competition.

"Personally, I am looking forward to a case as daunting as this. The excitement of working on something that is new and with limited time is just amazing, and I am sure I will enjoy every bit of it," says Jose.

The Emory Global Health Institute is a university-wide organization whose mission is to help Emory University improve health around the world.