Health Administration Case Competition challenges students across the U.S.

Jessica Haasz
November 06, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The second annual Penn State Health Administration Case Competition, hosted by the Master of Health Administration (MHA) Program, provided an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to put what they’ve learned into practice.

While this year’s event was held virtually due to the global pandemic, it didn’t stop over 150 students across 22 universities from participating in the event. The competition included students from the University of Utah, Cornell University, University of California, Los Angeles and more.

“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 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, sponsor of the competition.

“Participants in this case competition are future health care leaders, and the opportunity to develop multiple integrated solutions for a system like Geisinger accelerates their professional development and prepares them to confront the myriad challenges facing the U.S. healthcare system” said Chris Calkins, executive director of both the residential and online Master of Health Administration programs at Penn State. “Their presentations were inspiring and reassuring that the problems we face are not intractable and can be solved with empathy, insight and pioneering approaches to systemic problems.”

In addition to the sponsorship from Geisinger, the program was supported by business consulting and advisory executive Christopher Speer, an alum of the program who earned his degree in 1977. 

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

Learn more about the Master of Health Administration program at Penn State.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 06, 2020