By Emanuel Hernandez
Six students from the University of Kentucky will travel to Atlanta,GA to compete in the International Global Health Competition in Emory University. The team was chosen out of seven interdisciplinary student teams that gathered on Saturday, Jan. 21 to compete in the third annual Global Health Case Competition, where they sought to find solutions tackling gun violence and its health and social ramifications in Honduras.
This competition, hosted by the UK International Center’s Global Health Initiative, aims to provide advanced research and educational programs for students to improve the health of people throughout the world.
Each year, teams are challenged to create strategies that address a global health issue and then present their plans to a panel of judges. Dr. Jason Blackard said that it was a great opportunity for students to develop ideas, improve presentation skills, and become more critical thinkers.
For this year’s scenario, each student team served as a multidisciplinary consultant team to the Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez Alvarado. The teams created a strategy for reducing the health and socio-economic burdens of the epidemic of gun violence in the nation.
Dr. Samuel Matheny, assistant provost for Global Health Initiatives, said that competitions like this one teach students the value of inter-professional teamwork in global health. Students also improve their cultural understanding and learn new ways of solving problems.
“Students can bring some relevance back to Kentucky,” Dr. Matheny said. “The problems in the three years that we have done this event are also problems in Kentucky, so we are trying to train future leaders.”
From those presenting, a winning team was selected to move to the International Global Health Case Competition, which will take place in March 24 at Emory University in Atlanta. Team 5, which won first place in the UK competition, included:
- Luke Archer – Louisville, KY. Sophomore. College of Arts and Sciences
- Yujie Ding – Santa Fe, NM. Sophomore. College of Arts and Sciences
- Kara Jolly– Merrimack, NH. Second year medical student. College of Medicine
- Carine Malekera – Bukavu, DR Congo. Junior. College of Health Sciences and Public Health
- Kandice Roberts – Louisville, KY. First year medical student. College of Medicine
- Tina Trieu – College of Pharmacy
“I think one of our biggest strengths was just our teamwork,” said Kara Jolly, a second year medical student. “We got along so well, and worked very well together just with dividing and conquering. Whenever anyone had questions, someone would already be researching that question they’d asked. It was a very dynamic group.”
The winning team adopted a holistic approach that sought to attack poor health and living conditions, lack of education, and lack of opportunity to improve employment and reduce gun violence. Their strategy included reforming police practices, a mentoring program and trade schools.
“We were really knowledgeable on the topic,” junior Carine Malekera said. “I think we also had lots of stuff that we wanted to get out in 12 minutes and that was really hard.”
When asked about their strategy for Emory University, Kandice Roberts, first year medical student, said that the judges helped them to recognize a lot of their weaknesses. “We will definitely focus on improving our presentation skills and not getting caught up in the nitty-gritty details that send us in a never-ending cycle of finding more information that was leading us from finding the real solution,” Roberts said.
Other UK teams competing included:
Second Place: Team 7
Angel Algarin – College of Public Health
Anthony Burdo – College of Medicine
Joy Coles – College of Nursing
Rebecca Joel – College of Arts and Sciences
Kayla Kuhfeldt – College of Dentistry
Tyler Sanslow – College of Dentistry
Third Place: Team 2
Abby Bray – College of Medicine
Nathan Hansen – College of Medicine
Hina Iqbal – College of Arts and Sciences
Andrew Quirk – Patterson School for Diplomacy
Jordan Rice – College of Pharmacy and Public Health
Ben Windholz – College of Arts and Sciences
The UK teams were evaluated by guest judges: Dr. Jason Blackard, director of the Office of Global Health, University of Cincinnati; Dr. Quentin Eichbaum, director of the Vanderbilt Pathology Program in Global Health and chair of the Education Committee of the Consortium of Universities of Global Health; Dr. Will Giordano-Perez, fourth year of Family Medicine resident at Oregon Health & Science University; Dr. Bethany Hodge, director for the Global Education Office, University of Louisville; Dr. Andrea Pfeifle, assistant dean and director of the Indiana University Center for interprofessional Health Education and Practice; and Dr. Kate Steele, assistant professor, Marshall Family and Community Health in Huntington and Champanville, WV.