USC students compete in cross-campus health challenge

As mock consultants, Trojans focus on cancer prevention in lower-income countries

February 25, 2016 Larissa Puro

For the fifth year, nearly 100 USC students from 10 colleges focused on pressing issues at the USC Global Health Case Competition.

This year, teams had a week to identify and implement global programs to foster healthy communities in lower-income countries, as mock consultants “hired” by the American Cancer Society.

Global Health Case Competition winners
Danielle Pappas, Amy Nham, Evan Pye and Jessica Frankeberger, from left, were members of the winning team in the fifth USC Global Health Case Competition (USC Photo/Larissa Puro)

The annual cross-campus challenge, which began in 2012, is coordinated by the USC Institute for Global Health and a partnering organization — this year, the American Cancer Society.

Master of Public Health candidates Danielle Pappas, Evan Pye and Jessica Frankeberger; psychology undergraduate Jennifer Bailey and dual-degree pharmacy and PharmD/MPH student Amy Nham were members of the winning team. They’ll travel to Atlanta to represent USC at the International Emory University Global Health Case Competition in April.

Peer pressure

By working with their peers, the students learned to collaborate with others under pressure. Instead of handpicking a team to go to Emory University — which some universities in fact do — USC leaves it up to the students, which motivates them to think creatively — and competitively.

On Feb. 11, students presented to judges — a mix of USC faculty and American Cancer Society representatives. Each team pored over research related to health promotion and cancer prevention in low- and middle-income countries and developed a five-year, sustainable, realistically financed strategic plan to further cancer prevention through healthy environments and lifestyles.

Teams included students from the USC Marshall School of Business, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the USC Annenberg School for Communication, the USC Price School of Public Policy, the USC School of Social Work, the USC Leventhal School of Accounting, the USC School of Pharmacy and the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy.

Rosie Henson, American Cancer Society vice president for prevention and early detection — and one of the judges — treated participants to a lecture midway through the day as part of the USC Global Health Lecture Series. She addressed the movement to include cancer in discussions of one of the most pervasive challenges facing everyone: improving Americans’ health and well-being.

The students will receive guidance from global health faculty before competing at Emory University on April 8-9 for a chance to win $6,000.