On March 22 and 23, Northwestern University competed at the 2013 International Emory Global Health Case Competition at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. This year’s team was composed of Kate Klein, Kalindi Shah, Jamy Su, Caleb Hsieh, Danielle Westenberg and Alina Dunbar. Before they left for Atlanta, the students took some time out for an email interview with the Global Health Portal Blog to discuss the team and the competition.
How did the Northwestern Global Health Case Study Competition Team first get started?
We were chosen by the Center for Global Health to be part of the team.
How are members chosen (i.e. are they recruited or do they try out)? Who advises or coaches?
We were chosen because we all applied to be a part of the team. A committee of people from the Center for Global Health chose us. Dan Young, inter um [sic] director of the Center for Global Health is our main advisor. We’ve also solicited advice and critique from various faculty members who have watched us do practice presentations.
How would you describe the international competition at Emory to someone who’s never experienced it?
The competition consists of about 20 or so other teams from other schools in the world. It’s an intense experience where you get less than a week to prepare your solution to a global health problem and present it in front of judges at Emory in Atlanta.
What kinds of cases are tackled in the competition?
All cases are global health problems that could or have been faces. Topics range from malnutrition to smoking to refugee care and sanitation.
How many years has NU sent a team to the competition at Emory?
This is the second year.
What goes into preparing for the competition? Does it culminate in a presentation, debate, etc.? How are teams judged?
We prepared by practicing past cases and presenting them in front of faculty members. We met at least once a week to learn our methods for solving cases and working together as a team. All the teams will be judged by a panel of experts in the field of our case once we get to Emory.
How would you describe this year’s team dynamic, in 5 words or less?
A passionate focused well rounded team [sic]
What unique perspective/angle/talents does the NU team bring to the table? How has the mix of different team member talents and skill/knowledge sets affected the team’s approach to the case study competition?
Our team is diverse and that gives us strength. From our anthropologists, biologists, medical and business students, we all share a passion for global public health.
What does your team hope to gain the most from its experience in Atlanta this year?
We hope to learn how to solve real world problems in creative ways.
How do you feel the competition and your team’s contribution to it is impacting the greater field of global health?
I think experiences like this, and hopefully the ideas our team contributes, will help us prepare for the field, and potentially help develop new and fresh ideas to long standing problems.
What can NU students gain from an opportunity like this one?
There is tons to gain from this opportnity [sic]. Working on real life global health problems in which there is no right or easy answer is huge. Learning to weigh risks, benefits and tradeoffs [sic] really helps make the scenarios real and helps us think about what real practitioners and politicians face.
[UPDATE: The team didn’t place at this year’s competition. However, the Global Health Portal would like to congratulate the team for its wonderful efforts before and during the Atlanta-based event.]