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This is a two part blog series about my recent learning and professional development experience – the Emory International Global Health Case Competition


March 12, 2018

After the PLA trip to Chicago I traveled to Washington DC and then to Hershey, PA for some meetings. The inevitable question after telling people this is “what meetings?”, and this is where I jump into a long explanation of a really cool project I’m working on, the Emory Global Health Case Competition.

It’s atypical for non-Smeal majors to participate in a case competition, but this one is special. The case is focused on a pertinent global health issue and the teams are multi-disciplinary. The reason I had to be in Hershey is because my teammates are graduate students in medicine, public health, and law at the Hershey campus. The competition is one week long so the case was just released this past weekend and we got together to work on it. It’s about containing an infectious disease outbreak at the 2022 World Cup games in Qatar – fascinating to say the least.

I’ll give you all a sneak peek about the kind of things we’re considering in trying to solve this case. The first question is whether or not to cancel the World Cup because of the outbreak. The next step is to identify priorities – what do we do with the 50 confirmed cases of the disease so far? How do we prevent it from spreading? Some treatment is available – but how do we decide who gets it first? How do we gather more information about the disease since it’s a novel pathogen? There are so many things to consider, including partnerships, cultural sensitivity, fear mitigation, and the legal and ethical implications of this kind of work.

Needless to say, my head has been spinning and thinking about the case since this past weekend. It’s consuming my week, but in the best most-thought provoking way possible. I love learning this way; I find it so much more valuable than classroom learning. I’ve taken on describing the budget and supply chain logistics for our intervention, which is totally outside the scope of my knowledge but exciting to learn nonetheless. I just hope I can work on real, important problems like this someday as my career.

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March 26, 2018

This week was my first week of ‘normal’ school in 3 weeks. Between spring break, my week-long case competition, and travel after that, I’ve really been out of my routine recently. While I thought this would throw me for a loop and make me feel behind, it’s been so refreshing and re-energizing. I once wrote a blog post about how routines can be the enemy of time, and I totally felt that while traveling across the country over the past few weeks. Time completely slowed down, leaving room for the reflection I needed on my senior spring.

The first thing I had time to reflect on was the case competition. It was by far one of my best learning experiences of college. My team got to be really close, which is somewhat surprising given the composition of the team – I was the youngest at age 21, and the oldest was 37 and married! I loved working with this mix of people and I was really proud of our performance. Something I wasn’t anticipating was how stressful the competitions was – I was extremely anxious all day leading up to our presentation, which is not healthy. The other amazing piece of my trip to Atlanta was getting to network with so many people who work at the CDC. I could definitely see myself on Emory and the CDC’s campuses someday in the near future.

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