Students take on public health challenges in the Emory Global Health Case competition



Imagine an Olympic Games that requires the host country not only to build stadiums and infrastructure, but also to significantly improve the health of the country’s people, wildlife and natural environment. This was the situation presented to the teams of the 2022 Emory Global Intramural Health Case Competition.

The teams played the role of representatives of the countries, candidates for the organization of the Summer Olympic Games 2036. Each team selected one of the three host countries – India, Mexico or South Africa – and created OneHealth readiness plans for review by judges.

The winning team was called OneIndia, or Ekta, and included students Matteo Ascherio-Victoria of Emory College of Arts and Sciences; Anuska Bhandari from the Rollins School of Public Health; Kashish Kalwani of the Laney Graduate School; Eva Li of Emory College; Noah Mancuso of the Rollins School of Public Health; and William Wu of Goizueta Business School.

After carrying out a risk assessment, the team found a high prevalence of diseases transmitted from animals to humans. So they created a solution that would help prevent, report and respond to such incidents.

They used this example: a person misses a rage alert on their phone and gets bitten by a stray dog. She opens the team’s OneIndia app to report the bite. Its anonymized information is sent to the OneIndia server. She receives immediate notification on where to go for a vaccine. The doctor enters his data into digital medical records, which are uploaded to the OneIndia monitoring system. The incident is reported to the Regional Animal Response Team. The team collaborates with other community organizations to focus on sterilization and vaccination efforts and works with schools and the media to lobby for mitigation and awareness.

“I was so excited when the subject of the case came out,” says Mancuso, one of the Rollins members of the winning team. “I’ve always loved the Olympics. To be able to link this passion to my interests in global health was awesome.

Second place in the case competition went to a team representing Mexico and included Grace Chung of Emory University School of Medicine and Laney Graduate School; Lovette Ekwebelem of the Rollins School of Public Health; Alessia Kettlitz of the Rollins School of Public Health; Geneviève Pritchard of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing; Sunay Rastogi of Emory College; and Stella Zhang of Emory College.

Third place went to a team representing South Africa: Chiara Brust from the Rollins School of Public Health; Liah Nguyen of the Rollins School of Public Health; Anisha Sheth of the Rollins School of Public Health; Roxann Thompson of the Candler School of Theology; Anthony Wang of Emory College; and Wei-Hsuan Lee of Emory University School of Medicine.

The idea for the case competition was first pitched to the Emory Global Health Institute in 2009 by student advisory board member Brian Goebel, who was then a student at Goizueta Business School, says Rebecca Baggett, director of EGHI student programs. “He and some of his classmates had just won a business case competition, and he thought we could change the business school model by providing real-world global health challenges and having teams compete against each other. multidisciplinary students. It was a huge success, and we developed it every year.

Medical School student Mariana Rodriguez Duran, whose team received an honorable mention in the competition, entered “as a fun activity, to brainstorm with students from other backgrounds to come up with creative ways to solve global health issues that impact communities around the world,” she says. “We wanted to better understand these issues and be able to implement positive solutions.”

The winning group received a cash prize of $3,000 and went on to represent Emory in the international Emory Morningside Global Health Case Competition, which attracted more than 40 teams from more than 15 countries and six continents.

This case topic—“Addressing Disparities in Environmental Health: Developing Health Action Plans to Improve the Health of Indigenous Peoples”—imagined that funds had been made available to address inequities in health in four populations: French Polynesia; Dine (Navajo); Rohingya; or Inuit.

The teams served as representatives of organizations that advocate for the rights of Indigenous peoples and develop strategies and goals to address environmental health disparities. A team from Yale University was named the winner.

Regardless of the results, EGHI’s case competitions are rewarding, says Mancuso.

“It was a great opportunity to meet students outside of my graduate program and put our skills to the test,” he says.

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