UMB Interdisciplinary Team Triumphs in Public Health Challenge

October 26, 2018

Students from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), including a health law student from Maryland Carey Law, were declared the winners of the D.C. Public Health Case Challenge on October 15.

Health law student Adrienne Thomas and five other teammates from the UMB Schools of Social Work, Medicine, and Pharmacy showcased the importance of interdisciplinary education by competing in the annual challenge. The challenge is aimed at promoting problem-based learning and asks students to find a solution to a current public health issue in the Washington, D.C. community. This year’s issue was “Reducing Disparities in Cancer and Chronic Disease: Preventing Tobacco Use in African American Adolescents.” The teams of scholars were given two weeks to formulate and propose a multifaceted solution.

Through research and development, the scholars formulated a single proposed solution titled “D.C. Health Passport Program.” The team described the program as a multilevel advocacy and empowerment initiative targeting middle school students and their families in Wards 7 and 8.

“We knew early on that we wanted the program to include three main components: athletics, health education, and advocacy,” explains Thomas, who has a medical background in oncology. “We spent a lot of time refining our ideas as a group because bouncing them off of one another helped create much stronger interventions.”

Drawing upon each other’s strengths, the scholars created a strong and feasible strategy for interventions that encompasses the whole community. Their D.C. Health Passport Program equips students with tools to be advocates for their communities and encourages healthy choices by engaging them through athletics and the arts.

Read the full story about the team’s project here.