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UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Hosts International Competition for Health Care Management Scholars

The Fielding School and UCLA Center for Healthcare Management host virtual competition; winners include teams from Baylor University, the University of Minnesota, UCLA, and USC

Friday, January 29, 2021

From more than 57 teams in a competition that began last November, it came down to the final four this weekend at the second annual “Healthcare Management Case Competition,” hosted by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

The months-long contest pits teams of graduate students against each other to solve a real health care challenge, focused on health equity, presented by UCLA Health. As the premier sponsor, they have the opportunity to frame the challenge and provide the judges.

“Case competitions give students an opportunity to put course knowledge into practice and to gain exposure to high-level health care executives. Participation has the potential to open doors to future fellowships or career opportunities,” said Laura Erskine, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management and co-director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Healthcare Management. “Case competitions are an amazing growth opportunity for students and it is incredibly powerful to see what these graduate students can achieve and how professional and polished they are with their strategic recommendations.”

The original set of entries included 57 separate teams from 26 different universities, including colleges in India, South Africa, and the United States; eight teams, ranging from Carnegie Mellon University to the University of South Carolina, made it to the penultimate round.

“The case competition is a great opportunity for us to collaborate as an entire UCLA community,” said Richard Azar, UCLA Health’s chief operating officer. “We (UCLA Health) share real-world problems, and our teams benefit from the creative ideas of sharp graduate students from across the country and world.” 

Of those, four – including a joint U.S. Army-Baylor University team and students from the University of Minnesota, UCLA, and USC – all advanced to the finals.

“None of the innovative ideas were complete alone; the idea is to combine all the top ideas to create solutions for our patients,” said Kerline Ordeus, an administrative fellow in hospital operations at UCLA Health who also served as a judge. “It is imperative that we work together and combine ideas to narrow the gap of health inequities catalyzed by COVID-19.”

The final four, which split prize money totaling $26,000, included:

  • 4th Place: Team Verdure, Army-Baylor
  • 3rd Place: Prime Consultants, University of Minnesota
  • 2nd Place: Health Communications Consulting, USC
  • 1st Place: Synergy Solutions, UCLA

Synergy’s team captain, Lucia Garcia, is in the masters of public health program at the Fielding School, class of 2021.

“Reducing health disparities and improving population health is what initially drew me into the field of public health,” said Garcia, who earned her bachelor of science at Arizona State. “We hope our recommendations for increasing telehealth access for under-resourced groups will help UCLA Health adapt to the challenges of the pandemic and beyond. I feel so proud to be Bruin!”

Further information is available on the Center's website.

The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founded in 1961, is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals from diverse backgrounds, translating research into policy and practice, and serving our local communities and the communities of the nation and the world. The school has 631 students from 26 nations engaged in carrying out the vision of building healthy futures in greater Los Angeles, California, the nation and the world.