Case Study Team Takes First Place in National Competition

March 23, 2022

A trio of Columbia Mailman School master’s students was selected as the winners of the 2022 UCLA Center for Healthcare Management Case Competition. Alexis Bryan, Helena Chan, and Liat Schreiber took first place in a field of 36 teams across the country, in recognition of their proposal to improve health equity and access to care in Los Angeles. 

All three of the team members are currently enrolled in the Case Competition course taught by Professors John McHugh and David Rosenthal. They say the analytic skills they learned in the classroom helped them take the top prize. Each of them had taken part in analyzing cases as part of the course, but the UCLA contest was their first formal competition together. (Watch a video of their presentation below.)

They weren't the only winning Columbia Mailman team this year. Lauren Barry, Michelle Nader, Poorvi Satya, and Jessica Yuen took first place in a competition sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic. Ashley Sealy, Hongye Lyu, and Tianyi Zhang took second place in a contest organized by Centura Health in Denver.

The winning proposal in the UCLA competition makes a case that the UCLA Health System should partner with mobile care and remote service providers to better reach far-flung communities with limited mobility—largely low-income communities of color. The approach would improve access to primary care, reduce wait times, and open avenues for remote monitoring and continuity of care. It would also save money for the health system, which is among the country’s largest.

The Columbia Mailman team was not unfamiliar with Los Angeles. Schreiber hails from the city; Bryan and Chan have both spent time there. Even so, they undertook extensive research over three months leading up to the start of the competition. Once they were given the case, they had less than three and a half days to complete their executive summary and a presentation.  

The trio worked together to develop ideas and solutions. At the same time, each brought specific skills to bear. Bryan employed a keen analytical ability in her review of the case; Chan contributed design skills that produced a standout presentation deck; Schreiber leveraged her organizational acumen to orchestrate brainstorming sessions and logistics. 

They were among eight semi-finalists and four finalists to present in person in Los Angeles in February. Judges included various UCLA professionals, including their chief operating officer; chief health equity, diversity, and inclusion officer; and chief quality officer. The winners were announced on Friday, February 18th, 2022. Each received a trophy and a cash prize. 

The Columbia Mailman team recalls how it happened:

“It was a feeling of awe, excitement, and a bit of shock to win,” says Bryan, who will be working at Trinity Life Sciences consultancy after graduating this spring with an MPH in Epidemiology with a certificate in Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research.

“We were at an outside reception when the results were announced, starting with fourth place finalists and ending with the first prize winners,” adds Chan, a first-year MHA student pursuing a career in hospital management.  

“Once we heard the three other teams' names called, it was announced that the judges unanimously agreed that we had won on behalf of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health,” recalls Schreiber, also a first-year MHA student pursuing hospital administration or consulting. “We were standing next to each other and immediately embraced each other; we did it!”

Watch a video of the winning presentation: