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Teams at YIGH Global Health Competition Propose Innovative Solutions for Sudan Crisis

March 04, 2024
by Alyssa Cruz

On Saturday, February 17th, students from around the university pitched innovative solutions for managing non-communicable diseases amid the current humanitarian crisis in Sudan. With the ongoing conflict, millions have become refugees or displaced on the Chad-Sudan border, severely impacting the healthcare infrastructure and leading to shortages of medication and specialized care.

During the event, five teams proposed innovations for managing non-communicable diseases, including developing insulin wallets to tackle diabetes care, offering essential services through mobile clinics, utilizing transportable cooling storages for insulin medication, and delivering a multivitamin to tackle malnutrition.

Following the presentations, judges provided feedback, emphasizing the importance of context, highlighting the challenges of measurement, and noting the importance of people-centered approaches.

Being a judge was an incredible experience that highlighted the power of global health. It showed how can people at Yale connect with Darfur refugees in Chad. The esteemed judges' diverse perspectives and the students' intelligent responses to the real-life scenario were invaluable. It serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggles in Sudan and the importance of continued support.

Dr. Eman Salih, Postdoctoral Associate, Yale School of Public Health

The winning team will represent Yale and compete against schools from around the globe at the national Emory Morningside Global.

First Place: Cooling as a Service (CaaS)

CaaS centered around deploring "EcoFrost" coolers for transporting diabetes medication and "Frio Wallets" to help maintain the insulin temperature for up to four weeks. This approach creatively tackled diabetes care and training while increasing the longevity of insulin.
Team Members: Noemi Guerra (BS' 24), Xinzhi Qiu (BS' 26), Felicia Annan-Mills (MPH '25), William Zhang (MPH' 24), Wei Pang (MS' 24), and Lindsay Walker (MSN '26).

Second Place: Vital Vans

Vital Vans focused on mobile patient care and education services, developing an electric and integrated medical system to screen diabetes and hypertension.
Team Members: Shivnag Sista (Ph.D. '25), Keervani Kandala (MS ‘25), Teimur Kayani (MD-MPH '24), Juan D. Borrego (BA '26), Charlene Jamie Miciano (BA-MPH '25).

Third Place: Vitamin X/Care X: Global Health Prevention

VitaminX/CareX tackled malnutrition for pregnant women and children by implementing a multi-step intervention including the use of VITAMINx, a vitamin powder with more than 15 essential micronutrients and vitamins and a shelf life of 36 months.
Team Members: Simona Hausleitner (BS ‘25), Carson Ferrara (MPH ‘25), Natalia Rovelo (MPH '24), Kelly Savin (MSN '?), Sofia Jacobson (BA '26).

As Charles Minicucci (MPH ’24) reflected on his experience leading the Case Writing Team, he credited the Global Health Case Competition for “adding an incredible amount of value to my experience at Yale.” He noted that being involved as a planning committee member gave him the chance to explore topics in global health more deeply than in any other school setting.

It takes students out of the classroom and one step closer to the real world, giving them the opportunity to test out their knowledge and skills as real problem-solvers and change-makers.

Charles Minicucci (MPH '24)

Kailey Seiler (MPH '24), the chair of this year's competition, also reflected on her experiences being involved on the planning committee. She stated that "being a leader of the planning committee and the intent behind their planning was really what made the event successful."

The competition intends to facilitate meaningful student engagement with global health issues, and it was truly inspiring to witness the shared enthusiasm for global health amongst everyone in the room on competition day.

Kailey Seiler (MPH '24)

The judges for this year's competition were:

  • Jason Abaluck, Professor of Economics, Yale School of Management
  • Mayur M. Desai, Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases), Yale School of Public Health
  • Nathaniel Raymond, Executive Director, Humanitarian Research Lab, Yale School of Public Health
  • Robert Rohrbaugh, Professor of Psychiatry, Associate Dean for Global Health Education, Yale School of Medicine
  • Eman Salih, Postdoctoral Associate, Yale School of Public Health

Members of the planning committee for this year's event included:

  • Josiane Alix (MPH ‘24)
  • Difie Antwi (MPH ‘23)
  • Jack Carew (Ph.D. ‘27)
  • Atalay Demiray (Ph.D. ‘28)
  • Charles Minicucci (MPH '24)
  • Polina Ovchinnikova (MS ‘24)
  • Kailey Seiler (MPH '24)
  • Shankeri Vijayakumar (MPH '25)
Submitted by Alyssa Cruz on March 04, 2024