Three health policy and management master’s students at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health captured a third-place win at the 23rd annual Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition, held Oct. 10-12 in Orlando, Fla.
Mr. Ruben Joseph, Ms. Whitney Okie and Ms. Gina Thompson, representing the UNC Gillings School, competed with 30 other teams from across the United States in the event, which is hosted by the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE).
The Gillings School’s case competition teams, advised by Mr. Jeffrey Simms, assistant professor of health policy and management, frequently place in the top three in two national competitions. This year’s team members agreed that the experience of collaborating and competing together was a valuable one.
“The case competition allowed me to develop what I hope will be lifelong relationships with my two amazing teammates, while putting into practice the theories and methods I’ve spent the last year learning,” Mr. Joseph said. “I grew professionally in ways I didn’t believe I could and learned that if I set my mind on a task, anything is possible.”
Ms. Okie said it was an honor to represent the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Gillings School during the event.
“Our team worked diligently for three weeks while balancing schoolwork and other competing priorities to develop a solid presentation,” she said. “This was definitely a life-shaping experience for me; I am still amazed by the relationships I was able to build with teammates and at the NAHSE conference while competing. Most importantly, I’ll always be grateful for the support my teammates and I received from our faculty and staff.”
“Participating in the case competition was an unforgettable experience that will have a lasting impact on my life,” Ms. Thompson said. “The competition provided us the opportunity not only to bridge the didactic portion of our studies in applying everything we’ve learned to a real-life problem, but also to build enduring relationships with each other, our faculty and health care leaders across the nation. I am eternally grateful.”
Dr. Morris Weinberger, Vergil N. Slee Distinguished Professor of Healthcare Quality management and chair of the health policy and management department at the Gillings School, praised the team’s business plan to assist the Capital Health Systems organization with their Accountable Care Organization (ACO) advancement.
“As an academic program, we are appreciative of the opportunity NAHSE provides our students to apply many of the skills and competencies they receive in the classroom to the real world,” Dr. Weinberger said. “We are very proud of our team’s third-place win. Their hard work was recognized and rewarded.”
Since its inception, the leaders of the NAHSE case competition have been dedicated to providing graduate-level students with an educational experience that enhances their problem analysis and presentation skills.
Students from graduate programs in health administration, business administration and public health are invited to form teams of one to three students. Three weeks before the event, the teams are sent a unique, real-world case study and are charged with applying their creativity, knowledge and experience to analyze the challenging situations facing the health care organization featured in the case.
The teams present their case findings and recommendations before panels of judges representing leaders in the health care field and respond to questions from their audience.
Participation in the competition also allows students the opportunity to display their skills before prospective employers and to build their professional networks.
With the support of sponsor partners, NAHSE has provided more than $400,000 in scholarship awards to deserving students.
[Photo: Ms. Gina Thompson, Mr. Ruben Joseph and Ms. Whitney Okie (l-r) brought home a third-place win in the NAHSE case competition.]