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Students Create Post-Katrina Health Care System

October 19, 2010 – Three graduate students from the School of Nursing & Health Studies earned first place in a national competition to develop a health care system for a Hurricane Katrina-hit New Orleans community.

Deanna Jenkins (G’12), Karen Jose (G’11), and Philip Morris (G’11) -- all pursuing a master’s degree in health systems administration -- were declared victors Friday night at the annual meeting of the National Association of Health Services Executives in Memphis, Tenn.

Bernard Horak, a professor of health systems administration who directs the master’s program, accompanied the team.

Post-Katrina

About three weeks before the competition, all participants received a real case study requiring them to develop a health care system for an East New Orleans community that closed its hospitals after Hurricane Katrina.

The students competed in three rounds to overcome 24 other schools participating in the association’s Everett V. Fox Student Case Analysis and Presentation Competition. Each Georgetown student received a $4,000 scholarship.

Jenkins called the team’s presentation “very detailed and thorough, giving us the confidence to face any questions or challenges that came our way.”

“This experience has been incredible and confirms that I made the right choice to attend Georgetown’s program,” she said.

“The case competition was an amazing learning experience and unquestionably one of the highlights of my graduate experience,” Morris said.

Academic Preparation

The Georgetown team analyzed the data and formed recommendations, presented its findings and answered questions before a panel of expert judges.

Jose noted that the program’s coursework -- especially in epidemiology, finance, quality and strategic planning -- helped the team win.

“What set us apart from the rest of the competition was the level of our proposal’s thoroughness and cohesiveness,” she said. “We approached the proposal with the 30,000-foot-view of health care and dissected it to the most granular level.”

NHS Leaders Proud

Patricia Cloonan, chair of NHS’ health systems administration department, hosted a send-off and congratulatory party for the participants.

Julie DeLoia, interim dean of the school, said, “Deanna, Karen, and Philip made the school and university very proud this past weekend."

"This victory highlights their great potential as future leaders in the field,” she added. “It also showcases the strength of the program and our strong community of faculty and students.”

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