2016 Global Health Case Competition

In the 2016 Global Health Case Competition, teams proposed solutions to strengthen the health system in Liberia after the Ebola outbreak.

The Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health’s Student Advisory Council hosted its sixth annual Global Health Case Competition from February 7-13, 2016. This year, the Student Advisory Council organized several experts from the field to give presentations on health systems strengthening (HSS) and act as judges for the competition. The esteemed guests included Isabelle Wachsmuth from the World Health Organization, and John Welch from Partners in Health.

Over one hundred participants making up nearly twenty multidisciplinary teams competed in this six-day event. Teams were composed of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from many different Vanderbilt schools. From Sunday to Saturday, students from diverse backgrounds and fields of study joined forces to take on a public health challenge of global proportions.The case prompted teams to design a holistic, systems-level solution to strengthen Liberia's healthcare system after the devastating Ebola outbreak.

After learning the details of the case, teams had approximately four days to plan, organize, and craft a proposal to address this pressing global health issue. On Saturday morning, teams presented their ideas to a distinguished panel of judges, which included 12 faculty and other guests representing a wide range of expertise and interdisciplinary knowledge: Douglas Heimburger, M.D., M.S., Troy Moon, M.D., M.P.H., Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., Marie Martin, M.Ed., Carolyn Audet, Ph.D., Muktar Aliyu M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., Carol Etherington, MSN, R.N., FAAN., Brian Heuser, Ph.D., Bart Victor, Ph.D., Ash Rogers, M.P.A, and guests Isabelle Wachsmuth, M.Sc., M.P.H., and John Welch, C.R.N.A, M.S.N. At the competition, Isabelle Wachsmuth spoke about WHO's framework for HSS, and John Welch shared his experience from the ground in Liberia, and Partners in Health's approach to Ebola response. Both encouraged thoughtful action and creative solutions to the problems that governments and NGOs are still working to resolve. The teams’ solutions were judged based on strategy, efficient use of data, specificity and feasibility toward the given case, delivery, and innovation. First place and a $600 prize was awarded to the presentation entitled, “Leveraging Existing Assets for Permanent Sustainability (LEAPS)” by a team composed of:


  • Emily Sheldon, .M.P.H. candidate
  • Erin HamiltonM.P.H. candidate
  • Matthew De Niear, M.D./Ph.D. candidate
  • Kevin Kelly, M.Ed candidate
  • Yoonhee Han, M.Ed candidate
  • Matt Inbusch, M.B.A. candidate

These students will represent Vanderbilt University at the International Emory Global Health Case Competition on April 8-9, 2016 in Atlanta, GA, where they will compete against 23 universities from around the world to tackle a new case topic. The Vanderbilt Global Health Case Competition was developed and coordinated by members of the Institute for Global Health’s Student Advisory Council. Sponsors played an integral role in the production of the event.