Dartmouth Team Places in Global Health Case Competition

A team of Dartmouth undergraduate and graduate students finished in the top four at the 2011 Emory Global Health Case Competition in Atlanta, Ga. Saryah Azmat ’11; Cameron Nutt ’11; Vaidehi Mujumdar ’13; Allison Arensman, Tuck ’11, DMS ’11; and Maija Cheung, DMS ’13 competed against 20 teams from 13 universities in late March, winning an honorable mention award and a $1,000 cash prize. Teams from Emory University won both first and second place honors, while the University of California at San Francisco also received an honorable mention award as a top-four finisher.

The Emory competition was structured as a case study in which students from at least three different academic fields worked as a team to develop a solution to a global health problem, which they received the week of the competition. This year, the 120 competitors were asked to develop recommendations for the following fictional scenario: the director of programming at the East Africa regional office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had to prioritize programs for 800,000 refugees after receiving a 40 percent budget cut for 2012.

“Our overarching strategy was to use the climate of fiscal austerity to focus on efficiency and to use data to drive forward future investment in a rights-based health services system,” said Nutt. “We decided from the outset that we wanted to build our recommendations on a solid base of evidence collected through a dynamic data collection platform.”

The Dartmouth team, sponsored by the Dickey Center and the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, demonstrated their solutions in a 30-minute presentation to a panel of judges before being selected as one of four finalists. These teams were then given an additional case challenge, which they addressed in a second demonstration before a new panel of judges.

The focus of the competition was to bring together students to create innovative solutions for 21st-century global health issues. The Dartmouth team blended both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as students with backgrounds in anthropology, business, engineering, geography, global health, and medicine, to create a truly diverse and multidisciplinary team.

The Emory Global Health Case Competition was founded in 2009, and this was the first year it was open to national competitors.