HMP students will represent UI at student case competition

group photo of students
From left: Kylor Sorensen, Nora Kopping, Alton Croker, Winnie Uluocha, and Jamison Robinett

Update: The Iowa team advanced to the semi-final round of 10 graduate student teams (out of 28 competing teams) at the student case competition. Despite a strong presentation, they did not advance to the finals.

“Our Iowa team gave a second amazing presentation in the semi-finals,” Dan Gentry remarked. “They absolutely aced the Q&A. And the room was packed. So many people came up afterwards, including faculty colleagues and students from across the country, to congratulate our team on their stellar performance.

“As I told the team, and they’ve already heard back from many of you, this is already a great win for them personally and a huge step forward for our tremendous program and department. “Our team, and our observers, have represented us incredibly well, have made such a positive impression and mark here, and are benefiting from everything that the NAHSE annual education conference has to offer. “

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In October, a team of University of Iowa graduate students will put their analytical and presentation skills to the test at the national Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition.

The students, all from the Department of Health Management and Policy, are the first-ever UI team to participate in the case competition taking place at the 32nd Annual Educational Conference of the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) Oct. 17-20 in San Antonio, Texas.

NAHSE is a non-profit association of black health care executives founded in 1968 for the purpose of promoting the advancement and development of black health care leaders and elevating the quality of health care services rendered to minority and underserved communities.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to practice their skills and build their professional network,” says Dan Gentry, clinical professor of health management and policy, director of the UI Master of Health Administration (MHA) program, and the team’s faculty mentor. “It’s also a way our program can nurture and support more diversity among our students and in the health care executive profession.”

The UI team members are Alton Croker, a third-year health services and policy doctoral student; Winnie Uluocha, a third-year MHA/JD student; and Nora Kopping, a second-year MHA student. Kylor Sorensen, a second-year MHA/MBA student, and Jamison Robinett, a first-year MHA student, will join the group as observer and potential alternate, and observer, respectively.

Advancing Diverse Leadership

The UI team will be competing against 20-25 teams from other schools and universities. Graduate programs in health administration and related fields form teams of one to three students. All teams commit to sending a team of diverse competitors, specifically including African Americans.

The teams are given a unique case study and are charged with applying their creativity, knowledge, and experience to analyze the diverse and real situations facing the health care organization featured in the case.

“Iowa is uniquely positioned with such a strong program in health administration,” Croker says. “Being affiliated with a program like NAHSE that aims to advance minority health care leaders is great as a commitment to the broader profession, but also for our own program, and making sure that we see that reflected at all levels.”

“I think it’s important that our school is represented at the case competition, not only because of the exposure that we’ll have to minority health care executives, but also because it speaks to what we’re moving towards in the program, in terms of population health and the implications of social determinants on health,” says Uluocha. “Personally, it’s extremely important for me to see African American leaders represented in the health care field, and also have the opportunity to learn from and network with some of the brightest minds in health care to tackle real world problems.”

“Case competitions are an opportunity to take what we’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to the real world,” adds Kopping. “Having done one case competition before [at a different school], I can say that it was the single greatest learning opportunity I had in the program. Second, it’s really important for me as a future health care leader to understand how to incorporate diversity and inclusion into health care administration.”

Sorensen points out that the range of academic backgrounds represented on the team also adds to the experience.

“We have a PhD student, a law student, an MHA/MBA student – we have all these areas of academia coming together, and it brings a lot to the table,” Sorensen says. “Everyone brings a different insight into the problems that are being faced in health care today.”

The MHA program recently added diversity to its set of core values, and participating in the case competition is an opportunity to put the program’s values into practice, Sorensen points out.

“It’s something tangible,” Uluocha agrees.

Prepping for Competition

Three weeks prior to the competition, each team receives the case study to prepare their presentation. During the competition, each team has 20 minutes to present their analysis and recommendations, which is followed by a 10-minute question and answer period. Presentations are made before a panel of judges representing leaders in the health care field, corporate sponsors, and academia.

Teams advance first to semi-finals and then a final round of finalists. First-, second-, and third-place scholarship prizes are awarded, in the amounts of $4,000, $3,000, and $2,000 to each member of the winning teams, respectively.

As part of its preparation, the UI team will give a practice presentation to the entire MHA first- and second-year cohort, as well as the senior leadership team at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the clinical department heads.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity to get feedback,” says Kopping. “And that’s a really unique thing about the Iowa health management and policy program, that we have that link to the UI Hospitals and Clinics and that they’re willing to do something like this for us.”

“It speaks to the support throughout the university,” Croker adds.

‘Food Chains’ documentary will be shown Oct. 12

poster for Food Chains filmIn recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the College of Public Health will host two screenings of the documentary film Food ChainsThe screenings are sponsored by the CPH Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the UI Latino Council.

Monday, October 2
CPH Spotlight Series: Partial Screening and Panel Discussion
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
N120 CPHB

A segment of the film will be shown followed by a panel discussion.
Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP by emailing cph-spotlight@uiowa.edu

Corrected date:  Thursday, October 12
Full Screening
5:30 p.m.
N110 CPHB

A reception will follow in the atrium. Admission is free and open to the public.

About the Film

There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Farmworkers, the foundation of our fresh food industry, are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved – all within the borders of the United States.

Food Chains reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food and supermarkets. Fast food is big, but supermarkets are bigger – earning $4 trillion globally. They have tremendous power over the agricultural system. Over the past 3 decades they have drained revenue from their supply chain, leaving farmworkers in poverty and forced to work under subhuman conditions. Yet many take no responsibility for this.

In this exposé, an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the College of Public Health in advance at (319) 384-1500. This film has captioning available.

Wright studying role FQHCs play in reducing health care disparities

Emergency Signs at HospitalResearchers at the University of Iowa College of Public Health have been awarded a $1.54 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to study the role federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) might play in reducing disparities in potentially preventable hospital-based care among dual-eligibles.

Approximately 10 million Americans are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. According to Brad Wright, assistant professor of health management and policy at the UI and principle investigator on the grant, these dual-eligibles are a disproportionately high-cost population with substantial and often unmet healthcare needs.

A portrait of Brad Wright of the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
Brad Wright

“Despite having two sources of insurance coverage, dual-eligibles are one of the most vulnerable populations in the country,” he says. “They often experience high rates of potentially preventable hospitalizations and emergency department visits resulting from disparities in access to primary care.”

Little is known about the relationship between primary care access and the broader continuum of potentially preventable hospital care, which includes not only emergency department visits and hospitalizations, but also observation stays, 30-day return ED visits, and 30-day all-cause readmissions.

“This grant allows us to further our understanding of how we might use FHQCs to improve access to primary care, reduce disparities along ethnic and racial lines, and reduce those costly and potentially preventable emergency department visits and hospitalizations,” Wright says.