During the weekend of November 8 to 10, students from the “McGill Students Friends of Médecins sans Frontières (MSF)” group hosted their third annual Global Health Case Competition in collaboration with McGill’s Global Health Programs (GHP). The campus organization operates with the purpose of fostering a community for students passionate about global health, an area of study with the aim of achieving equity in health standards worldwide. Their annual three-day case competition, held this year in the McIntyre Medical Building, integrates their mission into an interactive event focused on raising interest in global health research and promoting creativity and interdisciplinary work.
The challenge posed to this year’s teams focused on disease prevention in the region of Chocò, Colombia. Teams were told to develop a sustainable five-year malaria prevention plan for local health authorities to implement. Along the way, they had to take the area’s demographics and local health systems into consideration, paying particular attention to the role of climate change in global health.
The event began on Friday, November 8 with a Meet & Greet event for participants, followed by a formal opening of the case competition the next day. Participants were divided into six teams and given the whole of Saturday to develop a plan with the help of case files and expert mentors from the field. Guest speaker María Elena Ordoñez also shared with participants her personal experience working within the MSF organization, and her role in approaching infectious disease issues in South America and abroad.
Teams presented their solutions to judges on Sunday, but were hit with a twist: the top three teams were asked to adapt their five-year prevention plan to accommodate a massive influx of refugees into the region, mimicking the real nature of rapidly-evolving cases of infectious disease.
The case competition welcomed students from all universities and programs ranging from medicine to mathematics – yet despite these differences, all students came away from the competition with a better understanding of the complexity and planning involved in tackling issues in global health.
Current co-presidents of McGill Students Friends of MSF, Odessa Grimard and Rukshana Gupta, look forward to welcoming new students at future competitions. “[…] Each and every one [of the participants] blew us organizers and judges away with their dedication, creativity, and deep passion for making the world a better place through global health,” Grimard told The Daily.
McGill Students Friends of Médecins sans Frontières: https://www.facebook.com/mcgillfomsf/