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The University of Kentucky (UK) College of Public Health’s Master of Health Administration (MHA) program case competition team competed and placed 4th (out of 42 teams) recently at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the 17th Annual UAB Health Administration Case Competition and L.R. (Rush) Jordan Endowed Lecture.  

The UAB Health Administration Case Competition provides graduate students from CAHME-accredited programs an opportunity to put what they have learned into practice with a real-life, real-time case. It is designed to be a capstone experience for graduate students across the United States and Canada.  

“This experience never disappoints. Our students grow tremendously, gaining skills and confidence,” says Dr. Maureen Jones, Director of Graduate Studies of the UK MHA. “They get to network and develop lifelong connections. I am immensely proud of this team and their ability to push through obstacles and trust the process!” 

The UK MHA competition team (pictured with Dr. Jones) included second-year students Corbin Kirksey and Kaitlyn Shell, and first-year student Sylvia Justice along with first-year observer Haley Turner. The teams presented to executives and subject matter experts at this competition during multiple rounds. 

“The opportunity to collaborate and solve problems with other future healthcare leaders and make connections that will last a lifetime was so valuable,” says Sylvia Justice. “I gained real-world insight into current healthcare problems which pushed me to new limits and encourages me to keep pushing for those we serve.” 

“The case competition pushed me to be ‘comfortably uncomfortable’ as we like to say in the program. I used everything I learned in our courses,” says Kaitlyn Shell. “I am not one who is at ease with public speaking, but now I know I can do it! Meeting students from around the country was an amazing relationship-building opportunity.” 

“Being in a case competition pushes students to consider all aspects of healthcare from strategy to financial feasibility which reflects the actual problems we will be asked to solve in our future careers,” says Corbin Kirksey.  

For this year’s competition, teams were asked to develop innovative solutions to palliative care.  

The UK MHA team developed a framework to introduce palliative care in primary care, specialty service lines, emergency department, and inpatient units at the earliest possible time to link and integrate palliative care resources for patients with hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.  

Their solution linked provider teams, patients, and families under an acute illness management model. The framework included a focus on early identification and education for chronic illness patients and coordinated care and resources using an AIMM coordinator in addition to a capitated per patient per month payment model that supplements current fee-for-service reimbursements.  

Furthermore, the student’s model would reduce the length of stay and avoid admissions creating cost savings into the millions. 

To learn more about the UK MHA program, visit  To learn more about our people, programs, and passion for public health, visit