Undergraduate students in a public health course at SMU honed their persuasive speaking abilities in a formal debate on reducing firearm suicide.
Gun-related deaths in the United States hit an all-time high in 2020, with a record number of gun murders and near-record gun suicides, according to new statistics from the Center for Disease Control. In 2020, more than 45,000 people lost their lives from gun-related injuries, including murders, suicides, and other types of deaths tracked by the CDC. Based on this information, the students of Dr. Eric Bing’s class Pandemics! The Science of Disease Spread, Prevention, and Control (APSM/ANTH/MNO 4344), held a debate on the topic: To reduce firearm-related suicides in the United States by 30% by 2031, should the primary focus be increasing access to mental health care or restricting access to firearms?
The students began their arguments by highlighting the significance of the topic, pointing out that many people in the United States experience mental health issues but lack access to necessary resources. One team noted that the top 3 states with the highest suicide rates share a neglect of mental health care providers, underscoring the importance of increasing access to mental health care. In contrast, opposing teams argued the dangers of firearm access, noting the quick and impulsive nature of suicide and providing data showing the increased risk of suicide with handgun access. They also cited the success of legislation like the Permit-to-Purchase (PTP) law in reducing suicide rates.
After the arguments of each side were given, the judges had a chance to ask follow up questions or for clarification, then rebuttals were given to the arguments by each side. After providing feedback to all of the teams, the judges ultimately chose the winning teams: Team 5 and Team 4.
Throughout the semester, students will keep learning and exploring global diseases, as well as discovering how epidemiologists relying on a range of academic disciplines can fight pandemics.
The seventh annual Battle to Save Lives case competition was presented by students in Dr. Eric G. Bing’s Creating Impact in Global and Public Health course
On April 12, over seventy people gathered to watch SMU’s seventh annual Battle to Save Lives, a global and public health case competition. The event was introduced by Dean Stephanie Knight, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, and featured five teams of students from SMU professor Eric G. Bing’s Creating Impact in Global & Public Health course. Each team presented their best strategies to solve real-life challenges. Attendees included SMU alums, current students, faculty, staff, and community members who helped the judges select the winning team at the end of the competition.
Two of the teams presented on the case of the Kalita Humpreys Theater, developing strategies to improve the connectivity and engagement with the African American and Hispanic population as well as the physical accessibility of the theater. Three teams presented their case on the West Dallas STEM School, proposing plans to develop a learning garden at the school to increase student interest in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
You can watch a video summary of each team’s proposal here, and read more below.
Ms. Dionne Davis, Manager of Foundation and Government Relations at the Dallas Theater Center, and co-leader of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Ms. Hilda Rodriguez, Advisory Board for Renovation of Kalita Humpreys Theater
Mr. Wes Keyes, Executive Director of Brother Bills’ Helping Hands
Mr. Chris Luna, Vice President, Legal Affairs at T-Mobile US, Inc.
Ms. Rikki Schramm, Environmental Education Teacher at the Dallas ISD STEM Environmental Education Center
Case 1: Kalita Humphrey’s Theater
The two Kalita Humpreys Theater teams presented their plans to improve the physical accessibility as well as the connectivity of the Kalita Humpreys Theater in Turtle Creek overall by 25% and by African Americans and Hispanics 50% within the next 2 years. Team ‘Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future,’ started the night by presenting their solutions of increasing visibility of the theater by bringing the theater to the audience and providing online-streaming options of the theater plays, hosting culturally relevant events, such as a Freedom Walk where patrons could take a 35-minute walk from the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, a nearby Dallas Theater Center, to the Kalita Humpreys Theater while viewing scenes of a play along the walk. Team ‘Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future,’ included Bretton Laboret, Bria’ Merchant, Cici Santos, Alex Smith, and Alexandra Yeager, and was coached by Yolette Garcia.
Team ‘Unearthing the Jewel’ took a slightly different approach, beginning their presentation with a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) that demonstrated and acknowledged the existing strengths and efforts taken by the theater toward increasing community connectivity. The team suggested building on top of the existing efforts by hosting in-person talkbacks, which would be led by the current full-time staff members to minimize cost, and attracting patrons and foot traffic to the theater through investing in a mural art wall. Team ‘Unearthing the Jewel’ included Imani Holmes, Taylor Jeske, Brooke Koritala, Joseph Lee, Lauren Small, and Joann Yang, and was coached by Collin Yarbrough.
After each presentation, judges were able to ask the team questions. Following the second presentation, the judges and audience voted and Team ‘Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future’ was awarded the win.
Case 2: West Dallas STEM School
The second part of the night included three teams of students presenting their strategies for developing a Learning Garden at the West Dallas STEM School (WDSS) that is intended to increase STEM-related knowledge relevant to the learning objectives for the State of Texas, and interest in the STEM-related fields among children attending the school. Team ‘Learning Garden Flower STEMS’ captured the audience’s attention as they began by asking the audience to imagine that they are six years old and in the shoes of these children who will soon get to plant and grow their own plants right in their schoolyard. The team planned to meet the goal by creating learning stations and experimental tables near the garden as well as recruiting volunteers from organizations such as UT Southwestern and the Perot Museum to give speeches and STEM talks to the children. Team ‘Learning Garden Flower STEMS’ included Cole Deal, James Gullett, Belleza Mitchell, Deemah Pulak, and Nushah Rahman and was coached by Amit Sharma and Lucy Weiss.
The second team, Team ‘Nurturing Seeds’ suggested having a salad garden and a pollinator garden that are ADA accessible. This team shared their plans of collecting data through surveys and test scores of the students on their schoolwork to measure the efficacy of their plan. They also emphasized the importance of developing a learning garden by mentioning research studies that found students to learn better outdoors compared to traditional indoor classroom settings. Team ‘Nurturing Seeds,’ included Hannah Andrews, Carlisle Dunnam, Hannah Jacobs, Nancy Le, and Brooke Shepherd, and was coached by Marc Sager.
Lastly, Team ‘Digging Deeper’ began with the big picture by sharing with the audience the importance of increasing STEM interest of children at the WDSS. They specifically mentioned the continuing cycle of the racial disparity in the STEM field with low numbers of minority students pursuing a career in STEM fields. Focusing on maximizing STEM learning and outdoor learning, the team suggested increasing STEM knowledge through having role models that could bring to the students a sense of belonging and focused attention, in addition to an outdoor learning space by the garden. This team also discussed the expansion possibilities of the learning garden at the school as well as the replicability of the project to other schools across the world. Team ‘Digging Deeper, included Eliana Abraham, James Chamberlain, Kaitlyn Gearin, Kyle Kavrazonis, and Thomas Truong, and was coached by Shelly Potter.
After each presentation, judges were able to ask the team questions. Following the third presentation, the judges and audience voted and Team ‘Team ‘Digging Deeper’ was awarded the win. Following the competition, Team ‘Digging Deeper’ presented their case to the SMU President, Provost and Simmons School of Education and Human Development Executive Board, showcasing the work of students in the Creating Impact in Global & Public Health course.
For the seventh annual Battle to Save Lives case competition, students in the Creating Impact in Global and Public Health course are developing strategies for the West Dallas STEM School and The Dallas Theater Center.
Students in Dr. Eric G. Bing’s course Creating Impact in Global and Public Health are developing strategies to assist the West Dallas STEM School and The Dallas Theater Center in the seventh annual Battle to Save Lives case competition. Five teams of students will present their cases to a panel of judges with the audience having the opportunity to help select the winning team.
The project charge for teams working with the West Dallas STEM School is to develop a strategy to assist Brother Bill’s Helping Hands in creating a Learning Garden at the school. Students must consider foundational items such as choosing a location of the garden and the approximate number of students the garden can serve. Additional topics such as the sustainability of the garden and the type of data to collect in order to monitor the effectiveness of the project in increasing STEM knowledge also need to be considered.
The project charge for teams working with The Dallas Theater Center focuses on strengthening community connectivity and access to the Katita Humpreys Theater in Turtle Creek. One aspect is to develop a plan that improves access for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles while improving traffic safety and reducing the potential for congestion on the adjoining Katy Trail and surrounding streets. A second aspect is to increases connectivity, access and use by the diverse North Texas community, increasing overall patronage as well as patronage by the African American and Hispanic communities.
Join us on April 12th to see the innovative plans the student teams present!
Event Details Date: April 12, 2022 Time: 5:30pm to 8:30pm Location: Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall Room 138, 3101 University Blvd Suite 138, Dallas, TX 75205 Guests: Welcome in-person, face masks required Parking: Information available here
SMU students practiced essential communication skills with Mursion, an immersive simulation assisted by Artificial Intelligence.
Students in Dr. Bing’s Creating Impact in Global & Public Health class have been practicing their communication skills in a number of different settings including an in-class debate. Recently they worked with an immersive simulation called Mursion. At the end of the semester, they will combine their communication skills and class knowledge in a Battle to Save Lives.
The Center for VR Learning Innovation at SMU includes the Mixed-Reality Simulation Lab which hosts the Mursion simulation. The Mursion simulation allows individuals to practice difficult and stressful conversations by staging interactions between learners and virtual avatars. The simulation has been shown to be effective in building communication skills due to its high level of realism and feedback provided by the program and provides a valuable learning experience for anyone looking to improve their interpersonal communication skills.
Using the Mursion simulation, students practiced Active Listening using OARS and Motivational Interviewing. OARS is built upon Open-Ended Questions, Affirmation, Reflective Listening, and Summary. Motivational Interviewing is built upon collaboration, evocation, autonomy and compassion. Students are provided with a scenario that involved an inter-personal issue between the avatars and they practiced engaging in a conversation with them about the problem. Their goal is not to resolve the problem, but instead to use Active Listening skills to guide the avatars in coming to a solution on their own.
Undergraduate students in a public health course at SMU propose diverse approaches and perspectives while discussing public health measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic and its relation to limiting civil liberties.
Creating Impact in Global & Public Health, a course created and taught by Dr. Eric G. Bing, is underway for the Spring semester. Students in the course focus on understanding and analyzing public health data, including the dynamics of pandemics, and the different ways in which the government takes action to mitigate the impact. With the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing countless deaths across the globe, public health measures such as quarantines and lockdowns followed in attempts to protect public health, which also led to protests and rallies by those who believe the health measures infringe one’s civil liberties. Using what they have learned from the course, students now put their knowledge to use through a formal debate to answer the question: “In the event of a public health emergency, is it justified to limit civil liberties in order to protect public health?”
Students in the course researched and proposed creative approaches to the debate topic from a variety of perspectives. While acknowledging the importance of protecting public health, students analyzed the effectiveness of restrictive measures such as lockdowns and quarantines and other approaches taken by countries outside of the United States. Students also prepared rebuttals for their opposing teams where they appealed their points while weighing the impact of topics discussed. The judges ultimately favored the team who thoroughly outlined and demonstrated their points with research to support them. Out of the three debates between six teams of students, two teams who argued “justifiable to limit civil liberties,” while one team who argued “unjustifiable to limit civil liberties” took victory.
Dr. Eric G. Bing’s innovativeCreating Impact in Global and Public Healthcourse prepares students to analyze and develop solutions for complex public health challenges.
In Spring 2022, Dr. Eric G. Bing’s Creating Impact in Global and Public Health course returns fully in person to bring students public health training. Students with a wide variety of backgrounds are encouraged to apply. No health background or expertise is required.
The interdisciplinary course blends the social, biological, and management sciences with humanities and the arts. Through a series of real-world case studies, guest speakers, discussions and debates, students will understand the many reasons why some global and public health initiatives succeed in improving health, while others fail.
Students will be motivated to collaborate with others and think beyond traditional academic boundaries, learning to create sustainable change in communities. The course culminates in the Battle to Save Lives, a public case competition in which students advocate for solutions to a real-world problem faced by a local organization.
More information on the Spring 2022 course is available in the course flyer. Space in the course is limited, and instructor permission is required to enroll. Click here to apply. Note that this course is offered in alternating years.
Undergraduate students in a new public health course at SMU are honing their persuasive speaking abilities in a series of formal debates about ongoing public health issues.
Students in the new SMU course Pandemics! The Science of Disease Spread, Prevention, and Controlhave spent the last several weeks learning about the basics of public health research design and constraints faced by the public health field. Now, they’re putting that knowledge to use in a series of debates judged by panels of experts.
Earlier this week, students in the course faced off over whether focusing on introducing additional gun control measures or focusing on increasing access to mental health care would be the preferable policy approach to reducing firearm suicides in the United States. While weighing the potential impact of each family of policies, students introduced criteria including political feasibility, effectiveness, cost, and risk. The judges ultimately favored teams who outlined specific policy plans and demonstrated that they could effectively respond to their opponents’ points. Out of the three debates between six teams of students, two “mental health” teams and one “gun control” team emerged victorious.
SMU Professor of Global Health Eric G. Bing, the creator of Pandemics, took inspiration from his popular course Creating Impact in Global & Public Health, which also includes formal debates. Bing said he hopes that the debates in both courses will help his students become better advocates and critical thinkers.
In light of the era-defining COVID-19 pandemic, SMU epidemiologist Dr. Eric G. Bing has created a new undergraduate course focused solely on international diseases and how we can combat them. Pandemics! The Science of Disease Spread, Prevention, and Control (APSM/ANTH/MNO 4344), which kicks off in Spring 2021, will give SMU students the basic tools they need to understand the many factors that drive disease spread and how local and global communities can combat it.
The interdisciplinary course will offer an interactive, participatory overview of epidemiological principles, using real-world infectious and social pandemics as a backdrop. Through a series of case studies, guest speakers, discussions, and live debates, students will study pandemics, evaluate epidemiological research, and develop evidence-based pandemic response strategies.
To understand and combat pandemics, epidemiologists think outside the box, using insights from diverse academic disciplines. Therefore, students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply, and no background in health is required.The course is a capstone for the Health & Society major.
Participation in the course is by instructor consent only; submit an application to join the course here or learn more on the course flyer.
At the largest Battle to Save Lives in the event’s six-year history, student proposals drew positive reviews from key SMU officials.
On April 30, over two hundred people tuned in to watch SMU’s sixth annual Battle to Save Lives, which featured five teams of students from SMU professor Eric G. Bing’s Creating Impact in Global & Public Health course presenting strategies for combating COVID-19 on college and university campuses. Attendees included SMU alums, current students, faculty, staff, university officials, and observers from all over the country; Dr. Bing remarked, “though we’re virtual, it’s our largest [Battle to Save Lives] ever, so I’m happy about that.”
The event unfolded before a panel of judges including Peter K. Moore (Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs ad interim), K.C. Mmeje (Vice President for Student Affairs), Janille Smith-Colin (Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering), and Jennifer Burr Altabef (a community leader and former attorney). The judges awarded the win to Team A, including students Ben De Leon, Noelle Gushard, Jaxen Howell, Grace McKeehan, and Lauren Welch, who presented a proposal called “The Armed Forces Against COVID-19.” However, each of the five teams were voted second place or higher by at least one of the judges or the audience. Dr. Moore, who is co-chairing the President’s Task Force for a Healthy Opening Fall 2020 with Dr. Mmeje, was inspired by the students and told them that the task force would be drawing on ideas from every team to help SMU reopen safely.
Create Impact in Your Organization The Institute for Leadership Impact serves schools and social impact organizations of all sizes. We offer an array of experiential, individual, and team-based leadership experiences and simulations to strengthen your team and support your growth as a leader.
SMU’s Global Public Health course shows how the online class meeting format can be leveraged to radically expand the borders of the classroom.
When SMU classes moved online in mid-March, Professor of Global Health Eric G. Bing took the opportunity to expand his Creating Impact in Global & Public Health classroom beyond Dallas and even beyond the United States. During the first month of online class meetings, Dr. Bing hosted several experts in medicine and public health for virtual guest lectures on topics related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic; students were able to interact with the guest lecturers in real time. Guests in the course included:
Dr. Trista Bingham, a CDC epidemiologist. Dr. Bingham spoke about how to create a career in fighting epidemics and pandemics.
Dr. Richard Sullivan, a professor at King’s College London who specializes in cancer policy, health systems, and public health in regions experiencing trauma and conflict. Dr. Sullivan’s guest lecture focused on how the pandemic will impact countries that are currently experiencing conflict.
Brett Newman, Director of Innovation at ACAP HealthWorks. Mr. Newman spoke about methods of creating innovative mental health outreach to first responders in times of crisis.
Dr. Geoffrey A. Funk, a surgeon at Baylor Scott & White Health. Dr. Funk discussed how the pandemic will impact medial care.
Megan Brown, a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at SMU. Ms. Brown drew on her experience working in public health in Costa Rica to discuss how the pandemic will impact Costa Rica and similar countries.
Dylan DeMuth, an SMU alum currently in his third year of a medical degree program at the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio. Mr. DeMuth focused on the impact of the pandemic on medical education.
These virtual class visits by guest lecturers from different parts of the world – none of whom were scheduled to visit the class before it became virtual – demonstrate that the virtual format can enhance learning in new and unexpected ways. In Creating Impact in Global & Public Health, the format gave future health leaders access to new opportunities and connections that they might not otherwise have had access too.
Create Impact in Your Organization The Institute for Leadership Impact serves schools and social impact organizations of all sizes. We offer an array of experiential, individual and team-based leadership experiences and simulations to strengthen your team and support your growth as a leader.