University-wide public health contest has Olympic effort and appeal

By Rebecca Baggett | Emory Report | Feb. 5, 2014

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Emory Global Health Case Competition winning team: (L-R) Daniel Hofstein, Sara Demas, Leslie Munoz, Stephanie Greeson, and Grace Schroer. Courtesy photo.

Emory students held their own version of a Winter Olympics with the Emory Global Health Institute's 2014 Intramural Emory Global Health Case Competition. It culminated with presentations and awards on Saturday, Feb. 1 at Rollins School of Public Health. A check for $3,000 went to the winning team.

Teams, comprised from approximately 70 students from every school at the University, worked through the snowstorm to present their case recommendations, having received the case subject five days before the presentation deadline.

Students divided into multidisciplinary teams of four to six students to tackle a case subject entitled "The Public Health Olympics," which required them to propose a bid to a panel of judges posing as International Olympic Committee (IOC) members for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. The bids had to demonstrate the feasibility of holding an Olympic Games in the selected city and include an innovative public health intervention that would improve the health of that city's or country's population.

The winning team of this sixth annual competition presented a bid for the city of Istanbul, Turkey, and included a public health intervention that focused on smoking cessation and the promotion of physical activity. Its proposed public health intervention included anti-smoking campaigns to be developed by Turkey's school children, a smoke-free Olympics, the establishment of a smoking quit line in Turkey, and the social marketing of physical activity programs featuring Turkey's Olympic athletes.

On to international competition

"I've been looking forward to the start of the Winter Olympics for awhile, so when I saw that our task was to present a bid for the 2024 Olympic Games I was pleasantly surprised," said Leslie Munoz, a Rollins School of Public Health student who was a member of the winning team. "In retrospect, the timing of it all made it seem like an obvious choice, but it definitely never crossed my mind that the case might involve the Olympics."

Other members of the winning team included: Sara Demas and Grace Schroer, Rollins School of Public Health; Stephanie Greeson, Laney Graduate School; and Daniel Hofstein, Goizueta Business School. These students will compete against 23 teams from other universities during the 2014 International Emory Global Health Case Competition, which will be held on March 29.

"I think we are still processing the fact that we won and will move on to the international competition. Thankfully we have until late March to regroup. I anticipate that our game plan will be the same as it was for the intramural competition since it worked so well for us, but you never know until you are handed the case study. We will take it as it comes," says Greeson.