Campus News

March 29, 2010

Competition makes case for global health

How does the state government of Gujarat, India, stem the health, social and economic burdens of tobacco use among its citizens when the dominant industry is tobacco product manufacturing? This is the question that close to 70 students answered during the 2010 Emory Global Health Case Competition, held March 20 at the Goizueta Business School.

Evaluated by a panel of judges with expertise in law, public health and business, the multidisciplinary student team who presented the winning case focused on placing excise taxes on tobacco products, encouraging economic diversification efforts in Gujarat, and targeting tobacco control and prevention messages to youth through popular cricket and Bollywood stars. The six Emory students comprising this team won a $3,000 cash prize and experienced a valuable real-world global health challenge by working across disciplines.

“I had a wonderful experience participating in the Global Health Case Competition. I think that each of us from our different disciplines brought really important ideas to the table when trying to address the case,” says Loida Erhard, a Rollins School of Public Health student.

Teammate Parul Parikh, an Emory Law student, echoes that thought. “Working with a multidisciplinary team was great. It gives you a window into the skills that other disciplines use while solving problems and it enhances the ideas that you bring to the table,” he says.

Initiated and coordinated by the Emory Global Health Institute’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC), the Emory Global Health Case Competition brings students together from multiple disciplines to develop innovative solutions for global health challenges.

After the 2009 inaugural competition that featured eight Emory teams, the SAC expanded this year’s competition to include 12 student teams, three of which came from Duke University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Students from multiple disciplines including business, law, medicine, public health, nursing and a variety of undergraduate majors comprised the teams.

Two additional Emory teams earned second-place and honorable mention honors, while Duke’s team received an honorable mention award.

“Working with a team of dedicated and passionate students in organizing our second event of this caliber and magnitude has shown us that our youth’s spirit and commitment can overcome vast obstacles,” says Mohammed K. Ali, assistant professor of global health and an adviser to the SAC.

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