The winners of the ninth annual D.C. Public Health Case Challenge were announced on Oct. 10, 2022. The challenge, launched in 2013, aims to promote interdisciplinary, problem-based learning around a public health issue of importance to the Washington, D.C., community.

This year’s challenge topic was “Protective Community Environments and Their Contribution to Intimate Partner Violence Prevention: The Role of Youth.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 million women and 11 million men who reported experiencing contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime said that they first experienced these forms of violence before the age of 18, so adolescence is an important time to intervene. But young people can also be change agents in their communities, including in violence prevention.

The 2022 Case Challenge focused on describing the problem of intimate partner violence (IPV) and highlighting the evidence of effective interventions to prevent and address this issue, with special attention to broad-based, preventive population-level strategies, and examples of youth engagement and leadership.

The teams from D.C.-area universities — each with up to six members from at least three disciplines — were given two weeks to develop a solution to this complex problem with a hypothetical $1 million budget to be used during a five-year span. The teams presented their solutions to a panel of expert judges, and they were evaluated on the interdisciplinary nature of their response, feasibility of implementation, creativity, and practicality.

The 2022 Grand Prize winner was the team from George Washington University. Team members Laura Santacrose, Prabha Raghavan, Tre’Sean Hutchison, Kelly Sheehi, Kayla Authelet, and Elizabeth Baran (faculty advisers: Gene Migliaccio and Jen Skillicorn) developed a solution called VIP, Voices to Interrupt and Prevent Violence. The team outlined three strategies: to engage youth early (through a middle school youth-led D.C. Avengers program), to limit exposure, and to change policies to support survivors, e.g., through stable housing. The long-term goal for the hypothetical project was to halve IPV in middle and high school students from 10 percent to 5 percent by 2028.

Three additional prizes were awarded:

Harrison C. Spencer Interprofessional Prize: The team from American University presented a peer-to-peer education-based solution titled PEN (Peer. Empowerment. Now.). The solution was designed to pair high school and college students as peer educators, employ youth as social media (TikTok and Instagram) interns, and set short, intermediate, and long-term (10 year) goals for the hypothetical project. Team members were Caroline Krekorian, Anjali Singh, Adira Brenner, Rotem Miloh, Margaret Curley, Rebeka Rafi, and faculty adviser Melissa Hawkins.

Wildcard Prize (for integrating the arts — youth theater — in the solution): The Georgetown University team proposed a solution titled ICAN: IPV Counseling for Adolescents Now. Their twofold approach included peer-to-peer advisers and a youth drama program.  Team members were Bailey Smith, Guillermina Pappier, Harrison Tandy, Carrigan Chase, Alyaa Chase, Uttara Jhaveri, and faculty adviser Anne Rosenwald.

Wildcard Prize (for a highly detailed and cohesive solution): The University of Maryland Baltimore team shared #Understandthecycle of Intimate Partner Violence in D.C.: A School-Based, Youth-Centered Approach, which brought together middle and high school students, with support from college students. The proposed solution included detailed steps to integrate prevention of IPV with youth leadership development. Team members were Emily Ly, Rebecca Faulkner, Hanna LeBuhn, Marcus Jones, Mostafa Abu-Hijlih, Belen Avelar, and faculty adviser Greg Carey.

The 2022 Case Challenge judges were:

  • Candace (Candy) Campbell, professor of nursing, University of San Francisco
  • Brenda (Bren) Elliott, chief, School Improvement and Supports for District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Cynthia B. Greer, associate professor, Graduate Program in Counseling and Mental Health, School of Nursing and Health Promotion, Trinity Washington University
  • Kelly Klinger, member services and wellness coordinator, D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Rita K. Kuwahara, primary care internal medicine physician and health policy fellow
  • Christian Sutton, organizer for food distribution and technology programs, Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid, and changemaker, New Deal for Youth (a program at the Center for Law and Social Policy)


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.

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