Global health case competition will be on March 1

This year’s theme is substance abuse prevention

Global health case competition will be on March 1

AU students will go head to head on March 1 presenting their solutions to prevent substance abuse during this year’s AU Global Health Case Competition, sponsored by the Department of Health Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Each year, teams are given a challenge based on a “real, contemporary public health problem,” said Dr. Jolynn Gardner, director of the Public Health Program.

This year’s case topic, substance abuse, was chosen in context with the 2016 Surgeon General’s report entitled, “Facing Addiction in America.”

Gardner said that students will form interdisciplinary teams of four to six AU students. Two must be students from the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Students are given two weeks to devise a solution to that challenge and present their solution to a team of professional judges,” Gardner said.

Case topics are chosen from newsworthy public health topics. Previous cases have included mental health issues among Syrian refugees and non-communicable diseases in Caribbean states, Gardner said.

The AU competition, which was first held in the spring of 2014, is based on a similar public health competition at Emory University, Gardner said. It was started by some of AU’s first public health majors who wanted to create an “intramural,” AU-only version of the Emory competition, Gardner said.

Gardner said that the first, second and third place teams will take home a prize of $1,000, $500 and $300 respectively.

Senior Rain Freeman, a double major Public Health and Justice, will be competing in this year’s competition. Last year, her team won second place for creating an education-based intervention for childhood obesity in Trinidad and Tobago.

Freeman said that she is excited about this year’s topic.

“Especially since it’s about substance abuse this time and that’s much more my interest than previous ones have been about,” Freeman said.

She said that the point of entering into the Health Case Competition isn’t just winning, but that students should take pride in the solutions they present.

“I don’t think anyone should go into it with like the only goal being winning,” Freeman said.

Senior Public Health major Kara Suvada, who will be competing with Rain Freeman on a team, said that teamwork is key to success.

“You have to have teamwork to get the solution done and drawing from... interdisciplinary perspectives is really helpful,” Suvada said.

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