MHA team celebrates first-place victory at UAB Health Administration Case Competition

Students (L-R) Brady Alexander, Abigail Lamm (Team Captain), and Liam Ngo won first place at the 18th Annual UAB Health Administration Case Competition.
Students Brady Alexander, Abigail Lamm (team captain), and Liam Ngo won first place at the 18th Annual UAB Health Administration Case Competition.

By Sara A. Mayo and Anne Riker Garlington

The University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions Master of Health Administration case competition team earned the top spot in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Health Administration Case Competition for the first time in program history. The UAB competition is arguably the biggest and most competitive case competition event for graduate health care administration education.

The team, comprising UF M.H.A. Class of 2024 students Abigail Lamm (captain), Brady Alexander and Liam Ngo, competed against 41 Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education-accredited schools.

UF MHA Case Competition Team with Coach and Clinical Assistant Professor,
Dr. Ara Jo Benson
UF M.H.A. case competition team with coach and clinical assistant professor, Dr. Ara Jo.

The student team developed and presented a comprehensive strategic plan for a seamless continuum of behavioral health care for pediatric patients during the competition, held February 28 through March 1 at the UAB campus. Ara Jo, Ph.D., a clinical assistant professor in the UF PHHP department of health services research, management and policy, served as the team’s faculty advisor, with support from Keith Benson, Ph.D., M.H.A., M.B.A., a clinical professor in the department and M.H.A. program director.

“After working tirelessly for over a month, we made so many memories together, but also pushed ourselves to produce a high-quality presentation that we were proud of,” Lamm said. “I couldn’t have imagined a better team to succeed with and I will forever remember this incredibly rewarding experience.”

Case competitions provide graduate students in health care administration an opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world practice, and they serve as a capstone experience for many university programs in the United States as well as Canada.

MHA Team celebrates the win.
The M.H.A. team celebrates their win.

Each team has three weeks to prepare the case deliverables including analyzing data, developing original strategies, building a cohesive presentation, and conducting mock presentations to refine their strategies and communication skills.

For this team, the hard work and late nights was enough to bring home the win.

The University of Florida is one of only four teams that have participated in all 18 UAB competitions, as well as the first Florida school to win the UAB Health Administration Case Competition.

“I am immensely proud of our representation of the program and cannot overstate my gratitude for my teammates and their collaborative spirit,” Ngo said. “The mentorship from our coaches was invaluable, particularly their deep insights into pediatric behavioral health and managed care. The contributions and encouragement from our faculty advisor and program director, Drs. Ara Jo and Keith Benson, provided us with a rare confidence to not just compete, but to clinch victory.”