Yale holds global health competition

Yale held its first Global Health Case Competition this Saturday at the Yale School of Public Health.

This weekend’s competition, which sought to bring students from Yale’s different schools together to propose solutions to global health issues, was an intramural round, the winner of which will represent Yale at Emory University’s Global Health Case Competition on March 23. Though only one team advanced to Emory, the top three winning teams were awarded $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. Yale’s competition was arranged by Jared Augenstein SPH ’13, Sunny Kumar ’13 and Sejal Hathi ’13, who comprised the first Yale team to participate in last year’s competition at Emory.

“We wanted other students here to have the opportunity to do the same thing [we did last year],” Augenstein said, adding that the competition forces students to “think critically about a global health issue and design feasible, realistic, but innovative solutions.”

Hathi said that since many of the teams competing at Emory are strong, the competition’s organizers wanted to ensure Yale’s team was as strong as possible.

This year, Yale will be represented by a six-person team spanning five of Yale’s schools.

The 20 competing teams were given their presentation topic — proposing a solution to the health and economic concerns of miners in South Africa — online on Sunday, Nov. 4. Each team then scrambled to compile research and create policy proposals for their first presentations held the following Saturday morning.

The winning team, which went by the name “Salovey and Sons Consulting Company,” was comprised of Yale undergraduate Hilary Rogers ’13 SPH ’14, Jordan Sloshower MED ’14, Yi Zhou SOM ’14, Bingnan Zhang MED ’14 SOM ’14 and epidemiology and microbial diseases students Javier Cepeda GRD ’16 and Ryan Boyko GRD ’18. Friday evening was the first time “Salovey and Sons” practiced their presentation together, Zhang said.

“We started meeting on Monday, when we discussed the case. On Wednesday, we did research and presented what we found [to each other], and on Thursday, we broke up into smaller groups to hammer out some policy,” she added.

The panel of judges was a balance of professors from the Yale Law School, Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Public Health, as well as public health practitioners and government consultants, Kumar said.

In addition to awarding prize money, the judges gave out an Innovation Award to a team whose “concept of using morality to change market forces was remarkably innovative,” said judge Martha Dale, director of China programs at the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute.

At the competition’s conclusion, Fatima Hassan, one of the judges and a senior visiting human rights fellow at Yale Law School, suggested that all the groups’ policy proposals be compiled for potential use in on-the-ground efforts in South Africa.

Hathi said she enjoyed seeing how committed teams were to addressing these global health issues.

“One team approached me, at the end of the day’s events, to ask if there was any way they might join current advocacy efforts or pilot their solutions on the ground,” she said.

Augenstein, Kumar and Hathi plan to hold the competition again next year.

Correction: Nov. 13

An earlier version of this article misidentified Martha Dale as the director of Global Health Initiatives at the Yale School of Public Health. 

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