If You Had a $25 Million Global Health Grant, What Would You Do?


MSIH’s Big Pitch 2018

What would you do if Michael Bloomberg gave you $25 million? Buy a private jet? Build your own private movie theater? Or would you use it to do a bit of global health work?

In the closing event of the Introduction to Global Health course, MSIH first year students were invited to submit their proposals for a $25 million global health project in response to a mock request for global health grant project proposals from Mr. Bloomberg.

Based on a case competition designed at Emory University’s School of Public Health, The Big Pitch provides students with the opportunity to compete for funding for a project of their own making in one of MSIH’s international clinical clerkship countries.

Project Delineation

To compete for the generous (fictional) global health grant, students were asked to clearly delineate their projects in terms of the following areas:

  • The public health problem or issue being addressed (including the burden and epidemiology of the disease)
  • Why the problem exists
  • What interventions, if any, have been already been introduced, in the country or in other countries to address this public health problem
  • The intervention being proposed by the project (including a very rough budget)
  • Whom and how the intervention will help
  • The project’s limitations
  • The potential impact of the project
  • How this impact can be measured

The Projects

With a panel of faculty members and second year judges, and after months of work, seven groups presented their ideas. These projects included:

  • An integrated TB and Diabetes Program in Ethiopia
  • A Water Purification Facility in Nepal
  • Oral Health for Children Program in the Philippines
  • A Health Information App for Rural Communities in India
  • Integrated Diabetes Services in Mexico
  • Maternal Mental Health Services in Peru
  • EMR Systems in Sri Lankan Hospitals

The projects, which were based on extensive research focusing on the various needs and the existing programs in each of the target countries, were presented as pitches to funders and included not only a review of the background and needs, but also a full operational plan and a budget.

The global health grant funders, represented by faculty members, second year student representatives, and the entire class, used an online form to grade in real-time each of the groups for their proposal’s originality, organization and feasibility.

The Winning Project

After long deliberations, which included no small amount of snacks, the panel recommended that Mr. Bloomberg invest in “Health Me India: Breaking Down Health Barriers with App Technology” – an app connecting patients and providers in India.

Not a bad way to spend $25 million.

Interested in solving global health challenges through medicine? MSIH is the only medical program in the world with a focus on global health incorporated into all four years of medical education. Many alumni go on to use their global health training in US hospitals as well as international settings. If you are a prospective medical student passionate about getting a top quality MD degree while also learning about global health, reach out to the MSIH admission team to learn more about our unique curriculum and what a medical career looks like for an MSIH graduate.

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