Armed with well-researched plans, information-packed slides, and seamless teamwork, six student teams competed for top honors and cash prizes in the inaugural Global Rural Health Case Competition held April 4 at the College of Public Health.
The teams were given a case centered on the ongoing power crisis in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Their mission: to present feasible, sustainable solutions to restore health, hope, and resiliency to Puerto Rico. The teams were tasked with addressing multiple systems such as power, water, health, and communications as well as ideas around infrastructure, policy, and sustainability to prevent this type of breakdown in the future. The students had about two weeks to research and develop their proposals with limited guidance from a faculty mentor.
On competition day, each team had 15 minutes to present their recommendations, followed by 10 minutes of questions from a panel of five judges. The teams were made up of graduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds.
“We had students from 14 different disciplines representing five colleges across the university,” says Vickie Miene, interim director of the Institute of Public Health Research and Policy. “It was really exciting to see the collaboration with public health. All of the teams did an outstanding job.”
Bringing the experience full circle, the winning team has announced that they will donate their winnings totaling $2,500 to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
The top three teams were:
1st place – Aequitas
- Monisa Saravanan, Community and Behavioral Health
- Elijah Olivas, Community and Behavioral Health
- Matthew Poch, Occupational and Environmental Health
- Anthony Emigh, Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Kevin Rivera, Medicine
2rd place – The Iowinners
- Kayla Faust, Occupational and Environmental Health
- Yanni Liang, Occupational and Environmental Health
- Ben Ertl, Industrial Engineering; Finance
- Kylor Sorenson, Health Management and Policy; Business Administration
- Kirsten Carew, Medicine; Business Administration
3nd place – GlobalVill
- Whitney Bash-Brooks, Community and Behavioral Health
- Redwan Bin Abdul Baten, Health Management and Policy
- Catherine Chioreso, Epidemiology
- Arwin Shrestha, Ophthalmology; Cellular Engineering
The case competition was organized by the Institute of Public Health Research and Policy and the College of Public Health’s Global Public Health Initiative. Funding for the case competition was generously provided by John Deere and Dale and Linda Baker.