Maine AHEC announces winners of annual Case Competition

Six students pose against a projector screen in Innovation Hall
From left: AHEC scholars Ryan Wheelock, Emily Kontio, Annick Metoule, Swapnika Mallipeddi, Julia Shepherd, Joshua Smestad.

The Maine Area Health Education Center (AHEC), housed within UNE’s Center for Excellence in Public Health (CEPH), hosted its annual Case Competition earlier this month. This year’s case focus was on the lobstering community and related population health and systemic issues impacting Maine’s fishing community.

The goal of the annual competition is for Maine’s next generation of health professionals to develop their skills in interprofessional communication and leadership, analytical reasoning, conflict resolution, and critical thinking.

Over the course of six months, the AHEC scholars work in interprofessional groups of five or six students to:

  • Identify the social determinants of health affecting a population vulnerable to health disparities
  • Apply population health data and research to define the challenges and strengths experienced by this population
  • Develop a plan based on best-practice evidence to address population health issues and include a culturally sensitive and collaborative approach

On Saturday, Nov. 11, the student teams presented their findings to a panel of esteemed judges from The Maine Coast Fisherman’s Association, the Maine Lobsterman’s Association, Maine Seacoast Mission, and the Maine Mobile Health Program, as well as UNE faculty and health care providers from around the state.

Team Blue Lobster Pod took home the top prize with their creative and thoughtful interventions addressing communication, education, and connection through community events, resource kits, and a help line.