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Students take second place in international competition

Could you redesign the World Health Organization in four days?
Posted April 22, 2014
Cross-divisional team from Johns Hopkins places second at Emory Global Health Case Competition. IMAGE: Arielle Slam Cross-divisional team from Johns Hopkins places second at Emory Global Health Case Competition. IMAGE: Arielle Slam

A team of Johns Hopkins students representing the schools of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, and Business tackled just that. They took on the challenge — and took home second place — in this year's Emory Global Health Case Competition.

Teams were tasked with redesigning the 66-year-old global health organization for the 21st century by addressing the complex organizational and political issues it faces.

"Being tasked with redesigning the WHO in only four days seemed impossible at first," says team member Hayley Droppert, a Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health scholarship award recipient whose research focuses on global health strategies and policy. "By putting all of our skills and backgrounds together, accompanied by some extremely rapid, targeted learning, our team was able to develop and present a proposal we were incredibly proud of."

The Johns Hopkins team — mentored by Bloomberg School of Public Health associate scientist Anbrasi Edward, PhD, SPH '96, Bus '06, focused on three key changes — refocusing the WHO back to its original vision, making it leaner, and increasing private sector partnerships.

"This was a great opportunity to come together with students from other Hopkins programs, discover what they were investigating, and bring our expertise to bear on addressing a problem," adds Arielle Slam, who graduates next month with an MPH/MBA degree from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and Carey Business School. The beneficiary of an MPH Annual Fund travel grant, which allowed her to gain invaluable field experience in Nepal, Slam credits the real-world learning and experiences of the team members as crucial for their success.

The annual international event featured 24 teams from across the country and around the world. Joining Droppert and Slam on the Johns Hopkins team were: Daniel Carnegie, an MPH/MBA student at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Carey Business School; Jacob Cox, a medical student at the School of Medicine; Abby Dowling, a BSN/MSN student at the School of Nursing; and David Lee, a medical student at the School of Medicine.

Scholarships, fellowships, overseas travel awards, and other forms of support give students more time to focus on studies and participate in research, competitions, travel, and other experiences that broaden their perspectives and help them build valuable connections.

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