American University 2015 Grand Prize-Winning Team

2015 Grand Prize-Winning Team from American University

On October 16, 2015, the National Academy of Medicine and the Institute of Medicine hosted the third annual DC Public Health Case Challenge. The case challenge aims to promote interdisciplinary, problem-based learning around a public health issue  of importance to the local Washington, DC, community.

Universities in the DC area formed teams consisting of three to six members from at least three disciplines. Teams were given a case, written by an independent team of students from the participating universities, that provides background information on a local public health problem. Teams were given two weeks to devise a comprehensive intervention, which they presented to an expert panel of judges. Teams were judged on the interdisciplinary nature of their response, feasibility of implementation, creativity, and practicality.

The 2015 Case Challenge topic was Supporting Mental Health in Older Veterans. The student teams were asked to develop a solution to this pressing DC problem with a hypothetical $1.2 million budget.

The 2015 Grand Prize winner was American University. Team members Bailey Cunningham, Alexa Edmier, Madison Hayes, Caroline Sell, Hana Stenson, and Shreya Veera proposed a solution titled The Open Door. Their intervention was intended to connect veterans to existing resources in DC with a focus on those veterans who cannot leave their homes, and included a mobility team to support veterans with physical disabilities.

Three additional prizes were awarded:

Creativity Prize: University of Maryland team, whose intervention, titled SAVI-FAM: Supporting Aging Veterans via Interdisciplinary Focused Assessments and Management, was designed to serve as a bridge between mental health care providers and elderly veterans. (Team members: Josh Chou, Brooke Hyman; Diana-Lynne Hsu; Daniela Minkin; Lauren Whittaker).

Practicality Prize: Georgetown University team, who won for VET UNITY, an intervention intended to create a close personal social network that can provide a protective barrier for mental health and mitigate stigma regarding mental illness. (Team members: Caroline Kim, Claire Hong, DongHyun [Andrew] Hong, Ryan Jeffery, and Michelle White)

Practicality Prize: The George Washington University team won for its C.H.A.M.P.S. program (Community Heroes and Mentor Peer Support), which had the goal of bringing together veterans across generations to promote resilience, optimism, and well-being. (Team members: Haneen Abudayyeh, Claire Houterman, Elisabeth Kutscher, Miranda Kuwahara, Alex Ives)

2015 Panel of Judges

  • Chris Crowe, Veterans Affairs Senior Mental Health Consultant/Liaison to the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Lynda Flowers, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, Public Policy Institute, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
  • Catherine L. Grus, Deputy Executive Director for Education, American Psychological Association (APA); representative to IOM Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education.
  • Jackie Maffucci, Research Director, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
  • James Peake, President, CGI Federal; former United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, former Surgeon General of the United States Army
  • Ilana Silverstein, Teaching Artist, Bodywise Dance,  Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Michelle Zamperetti, Manager, Community Health Programs, GE Healthymagination; representative to IOM Roundtable on Population Health Improvement

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Funding for the DC Public Health Case Challenge is provided by the NAM’s Kellogg Health of the Public Fund and the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement.

For more information, contact Amy Geller at

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