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Emory, Morningside Foundation join forces on competition to solve critical global health challenges

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Catherine Morrow

The Morningside Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to support the Emory Global Health Institute’s International Emory Global Health Case Competition. The 2021 competition will take place virtually March 12-21. For more information, visit the Emory Morningside Global Health Case Competition website.

Emory University and the Morningside Foundation have deepened their long partnership by collaborating on a multidisciplinary international student competition aimed at addressing real-world, critical global health challenges.

The Morningside Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to support the Emory Global Health Institute’s (EGHI) International Emory Global Health Case Competition. The contest has been renamed the Emory Morningside Global Health Case Competition, signifying a partnership and commitment to advance global health and train the next generation of global health leaders.

“The Morningside Foundation is unwavering in its commitments to improving global health and fostering innovation through education,” says Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH, vice president for global health at Emory University and founder of the Emory Global Health Institute.

“Through the foundation’s generous gift, the Emory Morningside Global Health Case Competition will further accelerate the engagement of students across the globe in seeking real-world multidisciplinary solutions to urgent global health challenges.”

Beginning in 2009, the first global health case competition sponsored by EGHI included 40 Emory students on eight multidisciplinary teams who presented strategies for alleviating severe acute childhood malnutrition in Ethiopia.

Today the competition has grown to include teams from six continents, including competitors from China, Uganda, the Netherlands and South Korea. Competitors come from diverse disciplines, including the health sciences, business, law, theology, and more. The annual event now features two global health case competitions, one intramural and one international.

“Universities are active participants in finding solutions to real-world problems, and students’ educational experiences should reflect the same. A business plan competition is one way to encourage students to put into practice what they have learned as they will surely be called upon to do when they leave school and enter the job market,” says Gerald Chan, co-founder of the Morningside group. 

Previous participants in the case competition value the collaborative nature of the competition and the opportunity to join a cohesive team.

“The most rewarding part of the case competition was working on an interdisciplinary team with such incredible students. I learned so much from them, and I think learning how to collaborate with people from different disciplines on a cohesive team is a critically important professional lesson that I’m not getting in other parts of my graduate training but got during the case competition,” says Sarah Connolly, member of 2018 winning team from Emory University.

This year’s timely case challenge asked student teams to design a country-wide vaccination program for one of four countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Japan, or Nigeria. Teams were tasked with improving the public’s perception of COVID-19 vaccines and ensuring that vaccines were adequately and appropriately distributed and administered to the public. 

Duke Kunshan University, in Jiangsu, China, won the first-place Marcus Foundation Prize,of $6,000. Team members included Hsien Yao Chee, Ie Huan Chong, Ege Kaan Duman, Remington Gillis, Thanaporn (May) Thongthum, and Sage Wyatt. The team designed a vaccination program that prioritized at-risk communities in Bangladesh such as Rohingya refugees and people with comorbidities, while also ensuring vaccination of the poorest members of the country’s population through a multi-channel and multi-population-level outreach campaign.

Read more about the winning team on Emory Global Health Institute’s website.

Emory Global Health Institute

The Emory Global Health Institute was founded in 2006 with the mission of advancing Emory University’s efforts to improve health around the world. Since its founding, EGHI has addressed some of the world’s most critical global health challenges.

The institute does this by fostering global health partnerships, supporting Emory faculty and their research, and training the next generation of global health leaders. The resulting growth in global health knowledge and ability builds healthier communities abroad and develops new tools to combat public health problems at home.

The Morningside Foundation

The Morningside Foundation is the charitable foundation of the Chan family with the mission of supporting science and enabling education. The Foundation made a naming gift to Harvard University in 2014; its public health school is now named Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In 2019, the Morningside Foundation made a gift to Emory University to establish The Morningside Center for Innovative and Affordable Medicine. 

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