by Patty Simmer, MS1
On a drizzly Saturday morning, 16 students made their way to the Biological Sciences Learning Center. They had taken the time out of their weekend and set aside their normal Pritzker, Harris, SSA, Booth, Law School, and BSD commitments, and instead focused their energy for eight full hours on solving one particular problem for the inaugural Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy (GPHAP) and Pritzker Interdisciplinary Case Competition. The 16 were split into groups of four, and before they had even been formally introduced to each other, they were presented with their case: create a sustainable strategy for a BoP* hospital in Gujarat, India, serving a poor and rural population.
In the afternoon, the four interdisciplinary teams stood to present their solutions to a panel of judges: James Woodruff, MD, Dean of Students at Pritzker; Dr. Mohammed Minhaj MD, MBA, Professor of Anesthesia & Critical Care, Vice-Chair of Finances and Operations, and Professor Colleen Grogan, PhD, of the School of Social Services Administration. Dr. John Flynn also generously took time to attend final presentations and see what these diverse groups of students could come up with. Although the teams had all been presented with the same case problem, provided by the University of Michigan William Davidson Institute, the diversity of solutions offered up by students was impressive: from expanding social venture training, to negotiating a value-based payment system from the government, to bolstering revenue from an Ophthalmology center of excellence.
In the end, a winning group was chosen based on criteria such as novelty of proposed ideas, viability of proposals, commitment to maintaining the hospital’s mission, and quality of presentation. Really, all students walked away with a richer experience from the day. Shay Huang, MS1 commented on the experience of working on a team with a business student, a law student, and a public policy student, all from UofC: “I was surprised at how different our ideas and approaches were from one another. It was amazing working on a team that brought such different skills to the same table.” This was our aim in organizing this event. We think that this kind of collaboration and understanding of how important a role diversity plays in creating holistic solutions is an invaluable lesson, and one best taught with experience.
Overall, we’re extremely grateful to our judges and to GPHAP and Grad Council for their contributions to this, the inaugural GPHAP & Pritzker Case Competition. We hope to make this an even bigger and more successful event in the future.
*Bop: Base of Pyramid. A hospital in the Indian medical system that serves the low income segment