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Global Health Case Competition challenges U.S., international student teams

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Holly Korschun

Nearly 140 students from universities across the United States, as well as Mexico, Canada and Australia, will gather in 24 teams at Emory University April 8-9 to compete in the 6th annual International Emory Global Health Case Competition – the largest and most enduring academic global health competition in the nation.

"The Emory Global Health Case Competition has been enormously successful because of the passion of students who are internationally focused and have the desire to develop creative solutions to real-world problems," says Jeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH, Emory vice president for global health. "Our participants have a one-in-a-kind opportunity to put their knowledge to work in a fun and challenging atmosphere."

The GE Foundation is the competition’s signature sponsor. Additional sponsors include Medtronic, Deloitte LLP, Pendleton Consulting, the Emory Conference Center and Hotel through its Subvention Fund, Red Brick Brewery, Kroger and Earthfare. The GE Foundation has sponsored Emory’s international global health case competition since 2011.

Although the Emory Global Health Case Competition uses a similar format to a business school case competition, it is unique in requiring students to work in multidisciplinary teams to analyze and present a solution to a current issue in global health.

"Emory’s case competition has become a model for global health collaboration among students from across the country and the world, says Robert Breiman, MD, director of the Emory Global Health Institute. "These students gain incredibly valuable experience from this week of intensive focus on a difficult challenge by learning to innovate and strategize with colleagues from a variety of disciplines and geographies, translating their ideas into persuasive communication. For many students, the case competition provides growth opportunities that will stay with them during their careers."

The multidisciplinary competition, developed and coordinated by the Emory Global Health Institute and its Student Advisory Committee, includes graduate and undergraduate and professional school students from a variety of fields including business, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, public health, theology, the social sciences and the humanities, and agricultural sciences. An external panel of judges evaluates the competition, and students receive awards and prizes.

This year’s case, which was presented to student teams on Saturday, April 2 preceding the weekend competition, focuses on prevention and management of obstetric fistula in India.

Previous years’ case competition teams were charged with developing strategies for reorganizing the World Health Organization so that it better meets the health challenges of the 21st century; developing potential strategies to reduce gun violence in Honduras, reducing severe childhood malnutrition in Ethiopia, childhood obesity in Mexico, and tobacco health burdens in Gujarat, India; developing program priorities for a refugee health agency in three east African countries; addressing social and health disparities in Sri Lanka; developing health reform plans for France; and recommending global health investments for China.

Participating universities include: Boston University, Brown University, Cornell University, Emory University, Harvard University, Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico, Johns Hopkins University, Medical University of South Carolina, New York University, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, University of Alabama, Birmingham, University of Alberta, University of California, Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Florida, University of Kentucky, University of Melbourne, University of Minnesota, University of Southern California, University of Tampa, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, and Yeshiva University.

The Emory Global Health Institute also is offering wait-listed schools the opportunity to participate in a video competition. Participants will include the Universidad de los Andes and University of Pennsylvania.

More information about the student case competition is available here.

Information about this year’s competition is available here.

View a video about the competition here.

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