Student and Alumni News
MHA Students Shine in National Case Competitions
Case competitions are a way for students to hone their skills, promote their school and give their teachers and advisors a good reason to be proud of them. All three objectives were achieved when students in the Master of Health Administration (MHA) program at the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health recently took part in two highly competitive national competitions.
Case competitions give graduate students an opportunity to apply what they have been learning in the classroom to solve a real-life problem currently facing a healthcare organization.
In February, UAMS students competed along with 37 other teams from across the country at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) 11th Annual Case Competition. Only programs with national accreditation are allowed to take part in the event.
Margaret Downs, Chris Meyer and Rizan Mohsin comprised the UAMS team. First year MHA students Cole Pace and Chase Cooper attended as observers. Faculty members Saleema Karim, PhD, and Michael Morris, PhD, were the team advisors.
“Although they did not place in the finals, this was a valuable opportunity for our students to compete and to meet their peers from other MHA programs across the country,” Dr. Karim said.
Another UAMS team of MHA students shined in the first round of the 3rd Annual Cleveland Clinic case competition that also took place in February. Unlike the UAB competition, the Cleveland Clinic competition is open to both MHA and MBA students. Also, the preliminary round consists of each team having a weekend to develop its solution to the case problem and then emailing a slide presentation and written brief about the proposed solution to the panel of judges made up of the Cleveland Clinic’s senior leadership. Sixteen teams from the roughly 60 that compete in the preliminary round are invited to go to Cleveland to take part in the finals in April.
The UAMS team placed 17th, making it the first alternate if one of the finalist teams decides to not compete. That is something to be proud of, especially in light of the fact that they competed against teams from some of the most prestigious schools in the world—including elite MBA programs from Oxford University in England, the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, and the MIT Sloan School of Business, as well as top MHA programs such as the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina and Cornell University. Making this accomplishment even more notable is that all four of the students on the team, Cole Pace, Booth Owens, Wade Freer, and Sarah Woods, are in their first year in the MHA program.
“Our teams have made quick progress in establishing our competitiveness at the national level since case competitions were integrated into our program three years ago,” Dr. Morris said. “I could not be more proud of what they have accomplished and what I know they will achieve in the future.”
Shaquina Danielle White, an MPH student in the Biostatistics track, recently presented a poster at the 20th National Tuberculosis Conference in Denver Feb. 23-27 about her research on time to tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis from presentation of initial symptoms. The National Tuberculosis Controllers Association, which hosted the event, awarded Ms. White a travel scholarship to the conference.
For her research, Ms. White, under the direction of her preceptor, Leonard Musaka, MBChB, PhD, reviewed the medical charts of Arkansans with TB who were 65 years or older to determine how long it took a doctor to diagnose TB starting from the patient’s initial symptoms. Based on her findings, she concluded that all individuals 65 or older should be tested for TB.
Dr. Musaka is faculty in the COPH Department of Epidemiology and Chief Epidemiology Officer for the Arkansas Department of Health Tuberculosis Program.
Yusuf Nawawi, MD, a second-year Master of Public Health student, submitted two abstracts for presentation at scientific meetings and both were accepted. Dr. Nawawi is a Fulbright scholar from Indonesia. He works in the lab of Mohammed Orloff, PhD, Ms (BioTech), Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health.
One abstract, “Racial disparities in breast cancer rates in Arkansas,” was accepted as a poster presentation and was presented at the Fulbright Seminar on Global Health at the University of Kentucky. The Global Health Innovations Seminar, “Global Health and the UN Millennium Goals,” explored a variety of public health topics and trends from a global perspective. During the five-day seminar, which took place Feb. 24-28, Fulbrighters had the opportunity to not only engage with fellow Fulbrighters, but with global health professionals and practitioners.
The second abstract, “Identification of a non-canonical micro-RNA in an FGF2-specific SNP region among breast cancer patients,” was accepted as an oral presentation at the MCBIOS-XIII 2016 Conference hosted by the University of Memphis at the FedEx Institute of Technology in Memphis, Tenn., March 3-5.
Jyric Sims, MHSA, was named the 2016 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Master of Health Administration program.
Mr. Sims, the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Tulane Health System in New Orleans, graduated in 2007 from the UAMS program in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health.
“Jyric is one of our program’s most distinguished young graduates who has represented our program with distinction,” said Richard Ault, MHSA, Director of the MHA program. “To be the chief operating officer of a major health system at this stage of his career is a remarkable achievement.”
Sims, who was born and raised in Baton Rouge and now lives in Metairie, said he was “humbled and honored” by the award, which was presented by Mr. Ault during its annual alumni luncheon Feb. 26.
“This is a true honor,” Mr. Sims said. “I am so blessed and fortunate to have lived, trained and mentored at UAMS. Without the rigorous academic and practical learnings, along with friendships developed, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s at UAMS that I learned health care is a people and service business. I am so lucky to be operating in my passion and to have the ability to serve our nearly 2,000 employees, physicians and most importantly, patients.”
Before joining Tulane Health System, Mr. Sims served as Vice President and CEO of HCA St. Lucie Medical Center in Port St. Lucie, Florida; Associate CEO and Ethics and Compliance Officer at HCA Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster, Texas; and Director of Regional and International Operations of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he was also an administrative fellow.
Sims also teaches in Tulane’s graduate program in health administration as an adjunct professor.
He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is on the board of directors of the Louisiana Chapter. He is on the National Diversity Advisory Board for Louisiana State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree. He is also slated to graduate from the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute in April.
Sims has received numerous other honors, including the prestigious Modern Healthcare 2015 Up and Comers Award, 2015 Millennial of the Year by New Orleans Social Renaissance, 2015 LSU Alumni Spotlight Award and 2014 Top Business Professional of South Florida by Legacy Magazine.