by: Alice Kim, member of 1st place team: Case Crushers
The Sparkman Center Global Health Case Competition (GHCC) is an event where teams (traditionally around 4-6) compete to develop and present practical solutions to public health issues that impact populations on a global scale.
As an MPH Health Behavior student studying psychology in undergrad, the GHCC had intrigued me for a couple years. While this year’s competition was completely online, I felt sufficiently capable of creating a virtual presentation format and confident that my team would be able to present novel solutions in a creative light.
One unique element of the Sparkman Center’s GHCC is that it has specific criteria for teams to have representation of the different schools at UAB. Our team member Helen, who represented Collat School of Business, says “As an economics major, it was very interesting for me to apply my own perspective on an issue outside of my field of knowledge. Not only did I have the chance to work with great team members who helped guide me through a public health issue, but I was also able to learn many healthcare processes that are applicable to my own life.”
As MPH students, Molly Beardslee, Amy Jasani, and I were able to use our knowledge of other classes, particularly those offered through UAB SOPH, to critically evaluate health behaviors and develop evidence-based community evaluations for dengue vaccine uptake. “My courses in health behavior models and biostatistics proved useful for our case solution” Amy says.
An unexpectedly daunting component of the competition was the Zoom webinar format of the final round, which brought on the pressure- knowing people were watching without being able to see them. Luckily, between presenting in the morning round and afternoon, we received valuable feedback from our panel of judges on a gap in knowledge that was rectified for our final case presentation.
Our team’s advice for future participants is to gather a diverse team and plan early for case preparation. GHCC is a lot of work for one week but it can be lots of fun, especially with learning about a global topic you may have never known about or considered before! GHCC is an awesome opportunity to engage critical thinking and creativity in solving real-life health problems.
It was a memorable experience to defend a personal solution applicable to real-time events in a professional environment, and this time of intensive research and investigation made our team well-versed in the topic of Dengue fever for the target population. I would recommend this experience to anyone interested in global health, infectious diseases, health behavior, health economics, and any other topic you can imagine! No matter what you’re studying, you can imagine creative solutions to worldwide problems.
Read the case and watch final round presentations on the 2021 UAB GHCC page. We hope to see you at the next competition!