Last month, the winning team from the Eck Institute for Global Health’s 6th Annual Notre Dame Global Health Case Competition participated in the 2021 Emory Morningside Global Health Case Competition. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the competition was hosted virtually and included 54 student teams from universities in fifteen countries and six continents.
Teams were asked to develop a strategy for COVID-19 vaccination programs and address related challenges, such as vaccine hesitancy and inadequate distribution. The case required student teams to improve the public’s perception of COVID-19 vaccines while ensuring sufficient distribution in one of the following four countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Japan, or Nigeria. Each team acted as the National Public Health Institute in their selected country and presented their solutions to judges, who represented members of a fictional Vaccine Foundation.
The student team representing Notre Dame included Mason Sponem, Matt Kozak, Tyler Dann, Morgan Foley, Leah Gudex, and Kyle Duffy. After submitting their proposal materials on the first day of the competition, this team was awarded an honorable mention Marcus Foundation Prize for their exceptional work and presentation of their vaccine distribution strategy.
Members from the Notre Dame team described the practical applications and collaborative nature of this competition:
“This experience has been a great way to approach a difficult and contemporary global health issue from a variety of angles,” said Tyler Dann, a Science Preprofessional major. “Working on a multidisciplinary team with some of my best friends has created an atmosphere in which ideas flow freely and we can trust each other to create a comprehensive plan that utilizes all of our skill sets.”
“The case competition challenged our group to answer an incredibly abstract but personal question we find ourselves managing here in the United States: how can we combat vaccine hesitancy and allow for equitable distribution of vaccines? These are questions world leaders have yet to answer, and that's the beauty of these case competitions,” said Leah Gudex, a Neuroscience major.
Next year’s Notre Dame Global Health Case Competition will commence with seminars beginning in the fall, followed by the actual competition occurring in the early Spring. Those who are interested in learning more about the competition can visit: https://globalhealth.nd.edu/education-training/undergraduate/global-health-case-competition/.
The Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame endeavors to promote research, training, and service for the advancement of health standards for all people. The institute recognizes health as a fundamental human right and aims to support those in developing countries who are disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases. To learn more about the institute, please visit globalhealth.nd.edu.
Marian Botchway / Program Director
Eck Institute for Global Health / University of Notre Dame
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