Five students from Georgetown, Caroline Kim (F ’16), Ryan Jeffrey (F ’16), Claire Hong (C ’16), Donghyun Hong (C ’16), and team captain, Michelle White (M ’16) took part in the 3rd Annual DC Public Health Case Challenge held at the National Academy of Sciences on Friday October 16th. Each year, students are given two weeks to develop an intervention to a public health challenge in the DC area. Research help was provided by Meg Franzetti (C’16) and Noah Martin (C’17). Claire, Donghyun, Meg, and Noah are Biology of Global Health majors.
This year, the topic was mental health of aging veterans in DC. The Georgetown team’s solution involved a tri-partite approach: first, support groups similar to those used by Alcoholics Anonymous; second, partnering older vets with younger vets struggling to re-acclimate to civilian society; and third, benefits fairs to link vets with benefits providers. The judges, made up of members of the Institute of Medicine and other stakeholders in veterans’ concerns in the DC area, particularly pointed to the utility of pairing older and younger vets as a creative way to address concerns not only of the target population, but to help improve the mental health of the next generation as well. Other winners included the teams from George Washington University, University of Maryland, and the grand prize winner, American University.