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Students compete in Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity Bowl

BOONE—Emily Crane, a graduate student in Appalachian State University’s Department of Social Work, was part of a nine-member team that won the inaugural Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity (MACHE) Bowl.

The MACHE Bowl, held in Winston-Salem March 29 and sponsored by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, featured three interdisciplinary teams each comprised of a graduate student from Appalachian’s Department of Social Work, UNC Greensboro’s Department of Public Health Education, Winston-Salem State University’s Division of Nursing, and Wake Forest University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, School of Law, School of Business, School of Divinity, School of Medicine and Center for Bioethics, Health and Society.

Their task was to attempt to “solve” a health-disparities case developed by faculty members from each of the participating schools and who represented different academic fields. Student teams were judged on the quality and clarity of their responses and their use of interdisciplinary approaches. The event encouraged collaboration among various fields of study as a way to begin solving complex health disparity problems.

“In medical social work, that’s the way decisions are made. Multidiscipline teams meet to discuss difficult or complex patient issues,” said Gail Leedy, chair of Appalachian’s Department of Social Work.

Students received part of a fictional case study to prepare for the competition and meet with team members to discuss the case as well as get to known one another and better understand what each discipline does, Leedy explained.

The students from Appalachian who participated in the competition have spent 16 hours a week in a medical setting, such as a hospital or community care clinic, and were able to share experiences from their field education with team members who are in public health, divinity, law or medical programs.

“Our team members got to learn how physicians, physician’s assistants, nurses, members of the clergy and lawyers approach and view complicated medical situations, and others got to learn what social workers do,” Leedy said.

The experience was so valuable, she would like to create a similar competition on a smaller scale involving students from the five departments in the College of Health Sciences.

Other students from Appalachian participating in the competition were Master of Social Work students Erin Casner and Carrie Richardson.