UF MHA Team Earns Fifth Place at 13th Annual OSU First-Year Health Administration Case Competition

From L to R: Ashleigh Smith (Captain), Mary Alfano, and Josie Shelton at the OSU First-Year Health Administration Case Competition.

By Sara A. Mayo

Three first-year University of Florida Master of Health Administration (MHA) students, Ashleigh Smith (Captain), Mary Alfano, and Josie Shelton participated in their first health administration case competition on the campus of Ohio State University last week, advancing to the final round and securing fifth place out of 24 health administration schools.

The UF MHA team presented strategic insights on expanding Peak Health’s Medicare Advantage Plan market and proposing Value-Based Payment Models for West Virginia University Medicine.

“We learned so much about integrated healthcare delivery systems, barriers to healthcare in West Virginia and the complexity of health insurance,” shares Mary Alfano, who was awarded ‘Best Presenter’ as one of the top 6 presenters out of 72 participants.  

Participating in a case competition has been one Alfano’s goals ever since starting the UF MHA program.

The UF MHA team presents their strategy during the OSU First-Year Health Administration Case Competition.

Health administration case competitions allow MHA students a hands-on experience to apply their healthcare knowledge to a real-world management scenario. In preparation, teams receive case materials three weeks prior to the competition and use that time to analyze data and prepare a viable, presentable solution.

The 13th Annual Ohio State First-Year Health Administration Case Competition provides a unique opportunity for first-year health administration students who are new to the world of healthcare management. This competition also is solely organized for the students by students, through the organization, the Association for Future Healthcare Executives (AFHE).

“I will never forget this experience and will take the skills I developed and knowledge I gained with me in my future career,” states Alfano.

Her teammate, Josie Shelton, agrees.

“While [the preparation during] these last few weeks have been challenging, I could not have asked for a better team to learn and grow with,” she said. “This was a foundational experience for my professional development as a future healthcare leader.”

The OSU First-Year Case Competition is uniquely held for first-year MHA students.

Teams from the UF MHA program compete annually at several case competitions throughout the country, such as at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health Administration Case Competition where the team recently won first place.

Other teams will represent UF MHA at the South Florida ACHE Case Competition this April and the National Association of Health Services Executives’ (NAHSE) Everett V. Fox Student Case Analysis and Presentation Competition in October this year.

The UF MHA program, housed as part of the UF Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy, within the College of Public Health and Health Professions (PHHP), would like to acknowledge the leadership from Drs. Ara Jo and Keith Benson as well as the numerous alumni and mentors who continue to support the program.