The 2016 Yale Healthcare Case Competition (YHCC) brought to SOM over 120 participants for a day of innovation and competition to tackle some of healthcare’s most pressing challenges.
When the organizing committee began to plan the event last October, we envisioned a small, SOM-centered case competition that challenged students to channel their strategic and business backgrounds in translating classroom discussion and academic innovation into real-life solutions for healthcare organizations.
What grew out of this mission was the need to engage diverse and interdisciplinary talent from within and beyond the SOM community. And with the support of our title sponsor, the Jackson Laboratory, along with partnerships across the Yale healthcare ecosystem, we were thrilled to bring together 15 teams across universities including Columbia, MIT Sloan, UConn, and Yale. Among Yale teams alone, students came from SOM, along with six other Yale professional schools and graduate programs.
Participants’ backgrounds ranged from physicians to consultants, from software engineers to lawyers, from pharmacists to investment bankers. We truly believe that these interdisciplinary teams reflect the diversity and dynamism of the healthcare sector, which came to light through the innovativeness of the teams’ approach and recommendations.
The theme of this year’s competition was Next-Generation Sequencing, a key area of development for our sponsor and partner, the Jackson Laboratory (JAX), a nonprofit biomedical research institution headquartered in Bar Harbor, Maine. Together with research scientists and experts at JAX, our case development team crafted a live case that challenged teams to bring to market a microbiome diagnostic technology that would advance dramatically the screening of respiratory diseases.
Teams were provided the case one week prior to the competition and were asked to develop a detailed business plan and recommendation to present to a panel of academic and industry judges. These experts included JAX executives, healthcare entrepreneurs, consultants, and healthcare lawyers, along with SOM’s very own Dr. Howard Forman and Jason Abaluck. In the process, teams were challenged to examine issues including organizational structure, stakeholder engagement, capital structuring, and the intellectual property landscape, among others.
After two rounds of fierce competition across three pools, the event ended with a cocktail reception that allowed participants to network with judges, sponsors, community partners, and fellow teams. In addition to taking home $4,000 in cash prizes, the winning teams were invited to bring their ideas to life by presenting their recommendations to senior executives on-site at the Jackson Laboratory. Among the winning teams was Yale’s Cross Campus Consultants featuring Zainab Aslam SOM ’17 and Trevor Thompson SOM ’17, along with PhD candidates Mary Burke, Tianxia Guan, and Colby Keistler.
Few industries have witnessed so much change, development, and a need for interdisciplinary leadership as the healthcare sector. The success of the 2016 Yale Healthcare Case Competition is perhaps a testament to the potential that interdisciplinary collaboration offers in tackling the challenges and capitalizing on the unique opportunities healthcare has to offer.
We want thank the organizing committee, participants, faculty, sponsors and partners for making the event such a success, and we look forward to having you join us again for next year’s competition!