Public Release: 

Winners of 2016 DC Public Health Case Challenge announced

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

WASHINGTON - The winners of the fourth annual D.C. Public Health Case Challenge were announced at this year's National Academy of Medicine annual meeting. The challenge aims to promote interdisciplinary, problem-based learning around a public health issue of importance to the local Washington, D.C. community.

Universities in the D.C. area formed teams consisting of five to six members from at least three disciplines. Teams were given a case, written by an independent team of students from the participating universities, and given two weeks to devise a comprehensive intervention for a local public health problem. An expert panel judged the teams on the interdisciplinary nature of their response, feasibility of implementation, creativity, and practicality.

The 2016 Case Challenge topic was "The Changing American City and Implications for Health and Well-being of Vulnerable Populations." The student teams were asked to develop a solution to this pressing problem with a hypothetical $2 million budget.

The 2016 Grand Prize winner was George Washington University. Team members Amelia Whitman, Ans Irfan, Jenny Reiner, Mary Bonnell, Puja Sheth, and Taylor Tresatti proposed a solution titled "Communities for Collective Action (C4CA)." Their intervention was intended to empower communities to make their voices heard, to support cross-sector collaboration, and to facilitate greater knowledge of and access to community resources through an app.

Three additional prizes were awarded:

    Practicality Prize: Howard University team's solution, Project Renew D.C., was intended to address the scarcity of healthy food, facilitate access to health care services, and provide community health education. (Team members: Keemi Ereme, Amoge Ezike, Deawodi Ladzekpo, Mark Lorthe, Lavern Smith, Tamea Williams.)

    Practicality Prize: The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences team proposed InSPIRE (Innovative School Program for Resiliency and Engagement), an intervention intended to address the mental health needs of and develop coping skills in D.C. elementary school children affected by homelessness. (Team members: Evan Gregg, Horace Hayes, Alexander Leeds, Emad Madha, and William Valiant.) The USUHS team was also selected to present at the Leadership Across Generations Luncheon at the National Academy of Medicine annual meeting.

    Harrison C. Spencer Interprofessional Prize: The American University team's Imagine Initiative was designed to tackle the linkages between poverty and obesity through school-based peer mentoring, a mobile farmer's market, and advocacy for policy change. (Team members: Rain Freeman, Rebecca [Morgan] Taylor, Kara Suvada, Liliana Zigo, and Michael DeJesus.)

The 2016 panel of judges were:

  • C. Anneta Arno, Ph.D., M.P.H, director, Office of Health Equity, D.C. Department of Health

  • Gary Gunderson, M.Div., D.Min., D.Div., vice president, Faith and Health Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center; member, NASEM Roundtable on Population Health improvement

  • Sara Hammerschmidt, Ph.D., M.S., senior director, Content, Urban Land Institute

  • Anna Ricklin, AICP, manager, Planning and Community Health Center, American Planning Association

  • Shanita D. Williams, Ph.D., M.P.H, APRN, deputy director, Northeast Health Services Division, Office of Northern Health Services, Health Resources and Service Administration; former member, NASEM Forum on Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education

  • Kamillah Wood, M.D., M.P.H, FAAP, senior vice president of health and housing, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future


The D.C. Public Health Case Challenge is co-sponsored by the National Academy of Medicine's Kellogg Health of the Public Fund and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Roundtable on Population Health Improvement, with support from the Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education. Additional information about the D.C. Public Health Case Challenge can be found at

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. The Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. For more information, visit


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