Candler School of Theology student Joshua Case served on the winning team in the recent 2009 Global Health Case Competition at Emory University.

Josh Case receives and team members receive award check.Case, who begins his second year at Candler this fall, is a native of Tuscaloosa, AL, but he spent the six years prior to attending Candler living in Geneva, Switzerland, where he did community development work.

The competition, which was sponsored by Candler, the Emory Global Health Institute, and the Emory University Graduate Senate, brought together students from across the Emory University campus to address a global health challenge from a multidisciplinary perspective. The case was presented to teams a few days before the presentation session, which allowed them to quickly conduct their research, formulate their plans, and prepare their case presentations.

Eight teams of students from all schools at the university evaluated methods of alleviating severe malnutrition in children in a specific region of Ethiopia. Students presented numerous strategies that included the use of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), microfinancing for local farmers, mobile nutrition education and prevention interventions, faith-based interventions, and the use of the versatile Moringa Tree as traditional food and RUTF crops.

Case's team presented a multidimensional strategy consisting of a mobile intervention that provided education on sanitation and safe water and the establishment of partnerships with a local manufacturer of RUTF and other in-country organizations. The team received a $1500 prize for its winning presentation.

One unique aspect of Case's team's strategy was to use part of their budget to offer incentives to families that built and maintained latrines. The incentives included goats and chickens, and Case said the judges viewed this aspect of their strategy very favorably because it had the ability to positively affect the nutritional status of the families for the long term.

Judges included Dr. Michael ME Johns, Chancellor of Emory University; Dr. Noel Erskine, Associate Professor at Candler; Dr. Christopher Howard, an Epidemiologic Intelligence Service Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Tarun Gulrajani, a senior associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP.

Teams were required to have members from three or more Emory schools. The team on which Case worked also included a student from Emory's Goizueta Business School, two from the Rollins School of Public Health and one Emory undergraduate. Case said the team offered an excellent mix of international knowledge and experience. The group included natives of Haiti and Puerto Rico, a former Peace Corps volunteer who had worked in Africa, and a member who had recently worked in Sudan.

All, Case noted, had different specialties, gifts, skills, and ways of thinking, a common situation in international public health. "That's what happens on the ground all the time in these international settings," he said.

Case said he was pleased that Candler had a presence in the competition, noting that Candler student Gretchen Van Ess helped organize the event and that student Alison Amyx also participated on one of the teams.

"It's vitally important for the School of Theology to remain engaged in matters of public health and international development," Case noted. "There are religious communities everywhere that can be mobilized to work for the good of others."

Read more in Emory Global Health Newsletter »