UCLA Fielding's EMPH student team wins first place at Cornell University Sloan Program in Health Administration case competition

UCLA Fielding took home first place in the case competition for the second year in a row.

EMPH student team holding winning check

A team of students from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health's Executive Master in Public Health (EMPH) program won first place in the Cornell University Sloan Program in Health Administration case competition, co-sponsored by SSM Health. The nationwide competition, which has run for three years, has named UCLA Fielding student teams champions two years back to back.

students leap into the air underneath arch in St. Louis

This year's winning team included Vishakha Hariawala, Lori Petrini, and Cameron Salehi — three first-year students — all of whom work full-time while pursuing the MPH through UCLA Fielding's EMPH program, which equips working professionals with the knowledge, skills, and resources to master the challenges of the rapidly evolving healthcare and policy environment.

“The Sloan Case Competition gave our team an incredible opportunity to creatively tackle disruptive innovation in healthcare by proposing the application of a Healthcare Utility Model to disrupt medical device market oligopolies," said Cameron. We are thrilled by the positive responses our ideas have garnered, and we hope our work can help inspire future efforts to increase healthcare access at lower costs.”

Led by the Healthcare Students Association at Cornell University, the competition required teams to demonstrate knowledge and skills in strategy formation and strategic foresight by scanning an emerging market for trends and opportunities. The case centered around Civica, a healthcare utility model in which otherwise competing entities, such as health systems, collaborate to provide an essential good or service at the lowest possible cost.

Of the 52 entries submitted from across the Unites States, 16 teams were selected to present their submissions virtually before advancing to the semi-finals where they presented onsite in St. Louis, Missouri. After presenting to a panel of judges from SSM Health and Cornell University, the EMPH student team — the first team from the degree program to enter a case competition in over a decade — was declared the winner of the competition, receiving a $10,000 prize.

Julie Elginer (DrPH '11), academic director of the EMPH program and assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at UCLA Fielding, served as faculty advisor to the team. Others from UCLA Fielding's Department of Health Policy and Management who lent their expertise in support of the team, include Dr. Dhruv Khurana, instructor, Dr. John Lu, associate professor, Mike Galper, professor, and Dr. Laura Erskine, professor and academic director of FSPH's Master of Healthcare Administration degree program, and director of the Center for Healthcare Management

In 2022, Selendi Gonzalez Hernandez, Karina Barajas, and Genesis Munguia Rodriguez — all first-generation students pursuing their MPH degrees at UCLA Fielding — won the case competition centered around Centura Health under the mentorship of Dr. Erskine.