For the fifth year, nearly 100 USC students from 10 colleges faced current-day issues of global health during the USC Global Health Case Competition on Feb. 11. The winning team will represent the university in a national competition in April.
This year, teams received a case challenge and had a week to identify and implement global programs to foster healthy communities in lower-income countries, as mock consultants “hired” by the American Cancer Society.
The annual cross-campus challenge, which began in 2012, is coordinated by the USC Institute for Global Health and a partnering organization — this year, it was American Cancer Society. Previous competitions have featured partnerships with organizations including TOMS, the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and International Medical Corps.
Master of Public Health candidates Danielle Pappas, Evan Pye and Jessica Frankeberger; psychology undergraduate Jennifer Bailey and dual-degree pharmacy and PharmD/MPH student Amy Nham are members of the winning team. They will represent USC at the International Emory University Global Health Case Competition in Atlanta this April.
By contending for first place with their peers, the students learned to collaborate with others under pressure. Instead of handpicking a team to go to Emory University — which some universities, in fact, do — USC leaves it up to the students, which motivates them to think creatively — and competitively.
On competition day, students presented to judges comprising USC faculty and American Cancer Society representatives. Each team had to analyze research related to health promotion and cancer prevention in low- and middle-income countries and develop a five-year sustainable, realistically financed strategic plan to further cancer prevention through healthy environments and lifestyles.
Teams included students from the Marshall School of Business, Viterbi School of Engineering, Keck School of Medicine, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Annenberg School for Communication, Price School of Public Policy, School of Social Work, Leventhal School of Accounting, School of Pharmacy and the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy.
Rosie Henson, American Cancer Society Vice President for Prevention and Early Detection — and one of the day’s judges — treated participants to a lecture midway through the day as part of the USC Global Health Lecture Series. She addressed the movement to include cancer in discussions of one of the most pervasive challenges facing us today: improving Americans’ health and well being. The lecture will be available to watch online.
The students will receive guidance from global health faculty before they compete at Emory University on April 8-9 for a chance to win $6,000. During their trip, the students also will tour American Cancer Society headquarters and meet the judges who observed their presentation at USC.
by Larissa Puro