|UNC teams place first and second at 2011 Triangle Global Health Case Competition|
|April 20, 2011|
In Afghanistan, one in four children dies before his or her fifth birthday, giving that country the world's worst mortality rate for children under age 5. The death rate is 250 per 1,000 live births. Several broad and intertwining factors, such as unclean drinking water, communicable disease and malnutrition, contribute to these deaths.
The challenge of creating innovative solutions for this complex problem was presented to 17 student teams from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Duke University, Meredith College and Wake Forest University at the 2011 Triangle Global Health Case Competition April 5-11. Students from multiple disciplines joined to develop presentations showcasing their creative solutions to improving child health in Afghanistan. Two teams from UNC took first and second place in the competition.
Proposals were judged on creativity and innovation, rationale and feasibility, delivery of the solution, and clarity and organization.
The winning team comprised three graduate and two undergraduate students from UNC: Anna Gage, a junior public policy major; Kelli Paice, a junior geography and environmental health sciences major; Arijit Paul, a student in the School of Law and the Department of Health Policy and Management; Khadija Turay, doctoral candidate in maternal and child health; and Samantha Kepler, first-year Master of Public Health student in nutrition. All but Gage, who is in the College of Arts and Sciences, are students at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
The team's presentation, "Kitchen for Kids," proposed the establishment of community kitchens in which women could gather to prepare traditional, nutritious meals using local ingredients for their children. Community kitchens would provide an environment for women in the community to share ideas and social support to benefit their children's health and nutrition. This concept was used to introduce the other aspects of the winning project, including nutrition education, a livestock program and water purification.
"What set our project apart from others was the way in which we were very specific about our plans to tackle this problem. We linked each aspect of our proposal to the problem we were addressing and made clear how our approach would impact the problem and bring about the solution that we needed," said Kepler, a member of the winning team.
Another UNC team took second place with a project titled "Afghanistan Relief Organization: Addressing the Root Causes of Child Mortality." The team proposed using local grassroots organizations to alleviate child mortality by leveraging an existing midwife network to distribute "newborn kits" including educational pamphlets, vitamin A tablets and other essential child care items. Team members were Amanda Modica, senior public policy major; Amanda Stephens and Elizabeth Perez, students in the School of Dentistry; Caitlin Pardue, senior psychology and public policy major; Josh Lewis, senior public policy major, and Ricky Hurtado, senior in the Kenan-Flagler Business School.
The Global Health Case Competition provides a venue for students to showcase multidisciplinary approaches to improving a specified global health issue. Each team consisted of members from at least three different academic schools or programs.
"Our group benefited from the multidisciplinary approach of this competition because it brought together students with variety of ideas and perspectives and made us look at the problem from all different angles," Kepler said.
The competition is unique because it provides students with various academic backgrounds and skill sets an opportunity to analyze a real-world problem and develop an effective solution. The students must develop a proposal in a specified amount of time, which is similar to the work of an actual international nongovernmental organization.
"We know that our students want to work both locally and globally," said Peggy Bentley, PhD, associate dean for global health and chair of the Triangle Global Health Consortium board of directors. "This event crystalizes all the things that make UNC a very unique, special place for students to learn, work and make a difference."
Student planning groups from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and Duke University developed the logistics for the Global Health Case Competition, wrote the case and developed judging criteria in collaboration with the Triangle Global Health Consortium. The consortium recruited judges and hosted a global health career networking event after the competition. The case competition was possible with the generous support of Don and Jennifer Holzworth and the Futures Group.
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|Last updated April 28, 2011|