Spring 2022 Course Trains SMU Students in Public Health Impact

Dr. Eric G. Bing’s innovative Creating Impact in Global and Public Health course 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.   

To learn more about Institute for Leadership Impact programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.   

SMU Students Debate Policy Solutions to Firearm Suicide

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. 

Pandemics Debate 1, judges and two teams
Judges and two of the teams participating in a debate on policies to reduce firearm suicide.

Students in the new SMU course Pandemics! The Science of Disease Spread, Prevention, and Control have 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.  

To learn more about Institute for Leadership Impact programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter. 

Applications for Pandemics Course at SMU Now Open

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.

To learn more about Institute for Leadership Impact programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

The Institute’s 2019-2020 Media Highlights

During the 2019-2020 academic year and the following summer, SMU Institute for Leadership Impact projects, researchers, and students were featured many times in local and national media reporting.

Though it was punctuated by a pandemic that pushed the Institute for Leadership Impact to reorient much of its programming, the 2019-2020 academic year and the following summer offered the Institute’s projects, researchers, and students many opportunities for media exposure, particularly in the area of health leadership development research. Highlights included…

Leading on COVID-19

With the rise of COVID-19, Institute Director Eric G. Bing – a trained physician and epidemiologist – was called upon to participate in several media interviews about the spread of the virus and about mitigation strategies. Over the spring, Bing made several national appearances on CBS News, in which he recommended wearing face coverings and ramping up testing. He was later interviewed by the Dallas Observer for articles on the importance of face coverings and taking a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

Additional information and guidance on COVID-19 is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Innovating for Medical Leadership Development

As the Institute’s research in virtual reality surgery simulation expanded, many local and regional publications took interest in the project. Before the end of 2019, publications including D Magazine, KERA News, WFAA ABC 8, Park Cities People, and The Dallas Morning News had published stories that focused on or mentioned the Institute’s virtual reality work. Project team members anticipate continued media attention as the project enters a new phase focused on postpartum hemorrhage treatment.

Training Future Public Health Leaders

When COVID-19 forced SMU to make classes virtual in March, Bing restructured his Creating Impact in Global & Public Health course to use the developing pandemic as a real-time example. The course traditionally culminates in the Battle to Save Lives case competition, which was reoriented to focus on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on college campuses. Two student teams from the class applied for RevTech Ventures grants to implement their solutions, and NTX Inno reported that both teams won grants.

Selected Student and Alumni Spotlights

Khris Beeson ‘20, who took Creating Impact in Global & Public Health in 2020 and became a Global Health Intern at the Center for Global Health Impact after graduating, was featured in a July 2020 Dallas Morning News piece about her collaboration with Bing.

Kaitlyn Contreras-Castro ‘20, who has served as a research assistant at the Institute since 2018 and has taken Creating Impact in Global & Public Health, was featured by SMU in Fall 2019.

Dominique Earland ‘17, who took Creating Impact in Global & Public Health during her time at SMU, is now pursuing a medical degree at the University of Minnesota. In March 2020, Earland was interviewed by Phi Beta Kappa about her path to medical school.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

SMU Researchers Create Low-cost Virtual Reality Training to Improve Care during Labor and Delivery

SMU researchers receive funding from Wellcome Trust to develop low cost virtual reality training to help improve skills to surgically manage postpartum hemorrhage.  Such training may not only reduce time and cost to train providers but reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission by reducing face-to-face interactions during surgical training.

 

COVID-19 has created complex challenges and opportunities in teaching and learning, including how medical providers are trained to perform complex medical procedures.  An international team of researchers from King’s College London, Southern Methodist University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Zambia is developing techniques to train surgeons using low cost eLearning tools and Virtual Reality which can help improve the acquisition of knowledge and skills without patient contact.1,2

The multidisciplinary team has been awarded a Wellcome Trust research grant to build and field test a virtual reality training platform for the surgical management of postpartum hemorrhage.  The team at SMU is led by Dr. Eric G. Bing, Professor of Global Health in the Departments of Applied Physiology & Wellness and Anthropology and Dr. Anthony Cuevas, Assistant Dean for Technology & Innovation and Clinical Professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning.

Researchers from SMU and UNC Chapel Hill developing a VR simulation.
Researchers from SMU and UNC Chapel Hill developing a VR simulation.

Surgery is one of the most crucial domains of global medicine, yet most low- and middle-income countries have stark deficits in both the absolute numbers of surgeons and their level of expertise to perform complex surgical procedures. Of the many types of emergency surgical interventions, some of the most crucial and complex are those required to manage obstetrical hemorrhage, the world’s most common cause of maternal death. Funding from the Wellcome Trust will enable researchers to build and field test the first general affordable obstetrical virtual reality simulator training platform for the surgical management of obstetrical hemorrhage. The innovative training platform, once built, will integrate the latest advances in virtual reality technology with traditional hands-on training and can be easily and affordably delivered within low and middle-income contexts. The application of an enhanced learning platform will rapidly build surgical capacity and capability for complex surgical procedures, some of which are life-saving, and increase access to a level of care that is very difficult for most women residing in these environments to obtain.

This research will build upon a low-cost Virtual Reality Surgery Simulator developed by many members of the current team.

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.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

  1. Bing, E. G. et al. Using Low-Cost Virtual Reality Simulation to Build Surgical Capacity for Cervical Cancer Treatment. J. Glob. Oncol. 1–7 (2019) doi:10.1200/JGO.18.00263.
  2. Parham, G. et al. Creating a low-cost virtual reality surgical simulation to increase surgical oncology capacity and capability. ecancermedicalscience 13, (2019).

 

SMU Students Virtually Present Pandemic Solutions before University Officials, Audience of Hundreds

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.

You can read more about the event in a previous blog post.

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.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

 

SMU Global & Public Health Class Hosts Virtual Lectures on Pandemic by Health Experts

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.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

 

SMU Students Developing Pandemic Solutions for Global & Public Health Case Competition

Now in its sixth annual iteration, the Battle to Save Lives will feature SMU students’ strategies to suppress COVID-19 on campus.  

Combating Covid-19 on Campus Flyer

After the coronavirus pandemic sent students home in mid-March, Dr. Eric G. Bing’s plans for the sixth annual Battle to Save Lives case competition were thrown into uncertainty. Bing, a professor of Global Health at Southern Methodist University, typically assigns students in his Creating Impact in Global & Public Health course to work with real-life organizations in the Dallas area to create impact in public health, but with these groups occupied combating the pandemic, Bing was forced to suspend the case competition. In its place, Bing saw an opportunity for his students to study a major developing public health issue in depth, so he immediately restructured the remainder of the course to focus on the pandemic.  

However, a few weeks after the course transitioned to its new subject matter and virtual venue, an opportunity to revive the Battle to Save Lives appeared: SMU and UT Dallas’ partnership with REVTECH Ventures to issue impact grants to students who submit proposals for suppressing the spread of COVID-19 on university and college campuses when students return. The grant opportunity was unveiled only two weeks before the final class meeting, and although students in Bing’s course typically work on their case projects for six to seven weeks, he realized that they had been studying the topics required for success on the grant proposal for the whole semester. With this in mind, Bing assigned the proposal as a final project and revived the case competition. 

At the sixth annual Battle to Save Lives, students will compete before a panel of judges including Dr. Peter K. Moore (Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs ad interim) and Dr. K.C. Mmeje (Vice President for Student Affairs). Drs. Moore and Mmeje, who were recently named co-chairs of the SMU President’s Task Force for Healthy Opening Fall 2020, will provide comments on the students’ proposals. 

The sixth annual Battle to Save Lives will be hosted virtually on April 30, 2020, from 5:00pm-8:00pm CT. Guests are encouraged to join the event and will have the opportunity to help select the winning team.  

The event can be accessed starting at 4:30pm CT on April 30 using this link or the URL https://smu.zoom.us/j/98455940148. 

 

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.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

 

SMU Professor of Global Health Restructures Course to Focus on Pandemic

When the coronavirus pandemic first threatened to send SMU students home, Professor of Global Health Eric G. Bing was in the middle of teaching his annual Creating Impact in Global and Public Health course.

GPH Class Group Photo Spring 2020
Students in Dr. Eric G. Bing’s Creating Impact in Global and Public Health class.

Bing, a physician and epidemiologist who serves as Director of the Institute for Leadership Impact and the Center for Global Health Impact at SMU, typically uses past case studies and a month-long community health project to prepare his students to become the leaders of real-world public health projects. However, when he learned about the initial coronavirus outbreak in China, Bing altered his course to include discussion assignments on how the outbreak could be stemmed. A month and a half later, the outbreak had turned into a global pandemic, and Bing’s students were scheduled to debate in class about how international organizations could scale up effective treatments for deadly global diseases in the modern era. The class meeting – which would become the last in-person meeting of the semester – included a debate conducted over videoconference software, with the judges watching and questioning the debaters from a remote location, so that the students could practice their persuasion skills in a less familiar format before the expected campus shutdown.

Now conducted online like all other SMU courses, Bing’s course has been completely restructured to help students learn about global and public health through the lens of an ongoing global health crisis. The online format has allowed Bing to add additional educational elements such as real-time discussions with experts in the medical field.

The newly-revised Creating Impact in Global and Public Health is analyzing several topics in real time, including the growth dynamics of pandemics, the importance of shelter-in-place orders, understanding public health data, and the different methods that governments and communities can use to mitigate the impact of pandemics. Through virtual discussion groups, personal reflections, and consultations with experts, Bing’s students have the opportunity to exercise their critical thinking and evaluation skills to develop new insights about the nature of global and public health. By redirecting his course to focus on an unexpected experience that affects all of his students, Bing hopes to more effectively prepare them to address global and public health problems in their lives and careers.

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.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

 

Training Emerging Public Health Leaders in the Classroom and Community

The Institute for Leadership Impact has trained over 150 SMU students in creating global and public health impact since 2015.

SMU students creating impact in global and public health
SMU students presenting at the Case Competition, part of the Creating Impact in Global & Public Health class.

 

Dr. Eric G. Bing’s Creating Impact in Global & Public Health course gives SMU students the tools to analyze and develop solutions to complex global health challenges and adapt those solutions to new contexts.

This interdisciplinary course blends social, biological and management sciences with humanities and the arts to help students create sustainable change in communities.  Through a series of real-world case studies, guest speakers, discussions and debates students begin to understand the many reasons why some global and public health initiatives succeed in improving health while others fail.

The course culminates in a Case Competition where teams of students present their solutions to a public health issue.  The proposals are evaluated on their feasibility, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Learn more about student involvement in our Global Health programs by visiting the Center for Global Health Impact.  For more information on the next Creating Impact in Global & Public Health class, download the course flyer.

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.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.