Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) students from the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health placed third out of 22 teams in the 16th annual Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition sponsored by the National Association of Health Services Executives, Oct. 11-14 in Henderson, Nev.

Team members Perry Heard and Courtney Gordon, both second-year students, and first-year student Brandon Lewis were each awarded $2,000 scholarships in the competition where students compete against other graduate-level health administration or business administration programs from around the country.

This year’s case focused on establishing a patient-centered medical home in an effort to prevent diabetes related readmissions within a local hospital system in Birmingham, Ala. The team developed a strategic business plan for the hospital system, offering several recommendations that supported its business model.

Other teams in the top five were Rush University (first place), University of South Carolina (second), Cornell University (fourth) and George Washington University (fifth).

“Our team demonstrated a level of analysis, professional poise and competencies that place them among the best M.H.A. programs in the country,” said Murray Côté, Ph.D., associate professor and M.H.A. program director. “While our Master of Health Administration program is less than 10 years old, we recognize the importance of case competitions to further our students’ graduate education.”

Gordon felt great pride representing the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health, stating, “Interacting with other schools confirmed that our ideas were unique and innovative, and this is a true testament to our training at the school.”

“I know firsthand that our students can compete with anyone in the nation,” said Heard, team leader.

“Competing in the case competition provided me the opportunity to develop the skills necessary for successful health care leaders,” Lewis said. “As a first-year student, I learned from engaging with my fellow teammates, who truly took me under their wings, guiding me in the direction of success.”

The case competition provides students the opportunity to compete against graduate programs from around the nation to enhance their problem analysis and presentation skills. Students present their cases to health care executives and industry leaders, applying their knowledge and creativity to analyze health care issues facing health service organizations today.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell