COPH students excel at the 23rd annual NAHSE Case Competition

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A group of USF College of Public Health students traveled to Orlando, Fla., in October to participate in the annual National Association of Health Services Executive (NAHSE) Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition.

The competition is a scholarship program where graduate students in health administration, business administration and public health are invited to form teams of one-to-three students.  Each team is presented with facts and data surrounding a health care case. They then work together to develop recommendations and interventions and present those findings to a panel of judges from the health care field.

This year, 31 teams from universities across the country participated.

USF COPH’s Drs. Barbara Orban, Sandra Potthoff and Jacqueline Wiltshire advised the USF team, whose case revolved around organizing a new initiative for a hospital’s Accountable Care Program that would cater to the senior population in Washington, D.C.

“The goal of the program was not only to produce savings, but also to implement technology and reduce barriers to some determinants of health among the elderly,” said Aisha Gillam, an MPH candidate with a concentration in health policy and management.

Aisha Gillam, Ibrahim Akorede and Sneha Grover gained insight into program planning while working on their case study at the NAHSE Case Competition. (Photo courtesy of Aisha Gillam)

Besides honing their problem-analysis and presentation skills, the competition gave students the opportunity to partake in daily seminars covering a wide range of topics pertinent to public health today.

Through these seminars, students were also able to interact and network with current health care executives, learning some of the intricacies of the health care industry they’ll likely encounter as future public health professionals.

According to Ibrahim Akorede, an MHA candidate and participant in the case competition, it was this access to leaders in the field that made the experience unique.

“It was unlike other case competitions,” Akorede said. “Health care executives and other professionals were willing to talk to us and share their experiences and words of advice—that was eye-opening.”

“I am thankful to have had the opportunity to engage with some of the most influential leaders in health care while creating lifelong professional connections,” added Sneha Grover, who is pursuing her MHA degree.

In addition to insight, the case competition students were able to gain the inside track on finding a job post-graduation, thanks to the professional relationships forged.

“There were several organizations with employment opportunities present, and I was able to connect with some current and future health care leaders who were very helpful during my fellowship application process,” Akorede said.

Overall, students said the competition was a great success and provided them with a foundation on which to build their public health careers.

 “I will take every piece of knowledge gained from this experience and apply it as I move forward, and I’m also looking forward to supporting other USF students through their journey in the competition,” Grover said.

Story by Cody Brown, USF College of Public Health