Bloustein undergrad team places 3rd in Penn State Health Administration Case Competition

November 10, 2020

A team of three Bloustein School undergraduate health administration majors placed third in the undergraduate competition at the second annual Penn State Health Administration Case Competition the weekend of October 31-November 1. The event provided an opportunity for both undergraduate and graduate students to put what they have learned into practice.

More than 150 students from 22 universities participated in this year’s virtual event. “The case competition challenged students to devise ways to make care accessible to vulnerable populations across the state of Pennsylvania. It required students to work under pressure while using their team-building skills to present a compelling proposal to executives in the industry,” said Maureen Jones, associate teaching professor of health policy and administration and coordinator of the event.

Students were given 24 hours to develop an innovative solution to a real-world health care challenge, with time to consult with industry experts along the way. Teams then presented their solutions and recommendations to a panel of judges and experts who evaluated each analysis as it applies to real-world standards of practice.

The Bloustein School team consisted of Christopher Jenkins, Deidre O’Loughlin, and Julia Wolf. “We received the case very early on Saturday morning and worked very hard all day Saturday. We worked for about 12 hours straight to come up with a strategic plan and answer to solve the case. I think we all worked great together and combined a lot of our ideas,” said Christopher. “The most difficult part of the case competition was finding information that was conclusive and had proven evidence to support our claims and ideas. After finding all of the information we were able to come up with a plan.”

In addition to creating their case and presentation, the students had to work around several difficulties including having to coordinate with their assigned professional to ask questions and changing time slots.

Associate Teaching Professor Michael J. McDonough, DMH, FACHE served as the team’s advisor during the weekend. “I was with the team throughout the three days as a coach, and am very proud of their efforts. Participants are future health care leaders, and participating in case competitions prepares them to confront the many challenges facing our healthcare systems,” he said. “I also congratulate the exceptional professors in our undergraduate program for all that they do to make Bloustein School students stand out among other universities.”

“Once we found out we’d made it through the first round, we worked even hard to place in the finals,” said Christopher. “Overall, this was been one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. It was a pleasure to work with Deidre and Julia in that capacity, all day, and I really feel as I’ve made lifelong friendships as we all begin our healthcare careers.”

The preliminary rounds included 15 judges, who serve as health care professionals representing consulting, large health systems, pharma, insurance, physician practice management, and government. The judges brought experience in operations, clinical transformation and innovation, health system development, and policy. The final round was judged by six professionals from Geisinger Health System, sponsor of the competition.

Winners of the event are as follows:

Undergraduate Programs

  • 1st place: Megan Sturonas, Dana Varughese, Roksana Lech, Loyola University Chicago
  • 2nd place: Kristen Rafferty, Natalie Milliken, Devi de Oliveira, Ithaca College
  • 3rd place: Julia Wolf, Christopher Jenkins, Deirdre O’Loughlin, Rutgers University
  • Best Presence During Q&A:  Devi de Oliveira, Ithaca College

Online MHA Programs

  • 1st place: Michelle Henton, Mikkie Chu, Yasmin Artis, George Mason University
  • 2nd place: Caitlin Hooven, Genevieve Sigwalt, Linda Vicaro, Penn State University
  • 3rd place: Michelle Epp; Zach Lugiano, Kyle Jones, Penn State University
  • Best Presence During Q&A: Michelle Henton, George Mason University

First Year MHA Programs

  • 1st place: Mareyba Fawad, Emma Knoble, Angela Lu, Columbia University
  • 2nd place: Vidushi Tripathi, Emma Antoine, Richard Kwon, Cornell University
  • 3rd place: Helen Constable, Vrushangi Shah, Austin Nguyen, University of Southern California
  • Best Presence During Q&A: Angela Lu, Columbia University

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