Global Health Problem Solving
By Rebecca Baggett 99MPH
Sofi Kannan needs help.
As director of programming for the East Africa Regional Office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, she is responsible for some eight hundred thousand refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Her 2012 budget has been cut by 40 percent, leaving her with the daunting task of prioritizing programs with limited resources.
Fortunately for Sofi, twenty student teams participating in the 2011 Emory Global Health Case Competition, held in March at the Rollins School of Public Health, gathered to develop her 2012 programming recommendations.
Although Sofi is a fictional character in the case study for Emory’s third annual—and first national—competition, the twenty multidisciplinary teams took her problem very seriously.
Eight teams of students from across Emory participated along with teams from twelve guest universities, making the competition the first national one of its kind. Judges were internal and external experts in business, medicine, public health, international development, and governmental and nongovernmental programming. Emory teams won both first- and second-place honors, while Dartmouth and University of California at San Francisco won honorable mention awards. Rice University won the competition’s Innovation Award, which recognized the team with the most original approach.
The winning Emory team included students from Goizueta Business School, the Laney Graduate School’s Master’s of Development Practice Program, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Candler School of Theology. The team focused its recommendations on capacity building within refugee camps on every level—education, agriculture, economic development, and health and security—with the goal of building independence among refugee populations.
According to a 2009 Consortium of Universities for Global Health survey of thirty-seven North American universities, global health programs more than doubled for undergraduate and graduate students from 2006 to 2009 due to student interest.
“Global health continues to grow as a primary interest of students at universities across the US, and the Emory Global Health Case Competition has gained a reputation as the leading national team event to showcase the creativity, passion, and intellect of our future leaders,” says Jeffrey P. Koplan, vice president for global health and director of the Emory Global Health Institute.
General Electric Company sponsored the event.