Multidisciplinary USC Global Health Case Competition connects students to the CDC

Back for its second year, the University of Southern California Global Health Case Competition has grown in popularity, with more than 130 undergraduate and graduate students from 11 USC schools participating Friday, Feb. 15.

This year, the USC Institute for Global Health partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to write the case, which, in the midst of an unusually harsh flu season, proved timely and relevant.

Released Monday to the students, the case revealed their teams have been “selected” as consultants for the CDC Influenza Division to design and present strategic plans to increase global vaccine supply and use in low- and middle-income countries.

Each of the 25 teams will present to USC faculty and professional judges during the day, but only three will make it to the final round that evening. The final round will begin with a twist in the case, which will require the teams to quickly reevaluate and adjust their presentations.

Representatives from the USC Institute for Global Health, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, California Department of Public Health, CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service will judge the final round. Those who can’t attend in person will tune in live from a Google+ Hangout, which will be publicly broadcasting the finalists’ presentations online.

The winning team will represent USC at the International Emory University Global Health Case Competition in Atlanta, Georgia, in March for a chance to win $6,000.

Last year, the USC team—all undergraduates—received an honorable mention at the Emory competition after competing against 22 graduate student teams.

“They wowed the judges,” said Jeffrey Koplan, Emory Global Health Institute director and former director of the CDC.

“This was definitely the best experience I’ve had in college thus far,” said Peter Eskander after competing at Emory last year. “Working with such a talented and diverse group of students made me realize what it means to use teamwork to accomplish anything.” The junior, double majoring in theater and health promotion and disease prevention, is competing again this year. More info »