2022 Battle to Save Lives, a Global and Public Health Case Competition, Returns In-person

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

Students presenting at the 2022 Battle to Save Lives

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.

Judges at the 2022 Battle to Save Lives

The judges were:

  • 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

Team Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future presenting at the 2022 Battle to Save Lives

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 presenting at the 2022 Battle to Save Lives

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

Team Learning Garden Flower STEMS presenting at the 2022 Battle to Save Lives

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.

Team Nurturing Seeds presenting at the 2022 Battle to Save Lives

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.

Team Digging Deeper presenting at the 2022 Battle to Save Lives

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.

Team Digging Deeper presenting to the SMU President, Provost and Simmons School of Education and Human Development Executive Board

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.

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

Students Begin Preparing for The Seventh Annual Battle to Save Lives Case Competition

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. 

Dr. Eric Bing sharing the project charges with the class

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

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

Students Test Virtual Reality Surgical Simulation Developed at SMU

Over the summer of 2021, three SMU undergraduate students and one high school student tested components of a research study training surgeons in Zambia to treat postpartum hemorrhage.  Three of the students tested a virtual reality surgical simulation developed for the study. 

Khasvi S. using the virtual reality surgical simulation to practice the steps of a hysterectomy surgery.
Khasvi S. using the virtual reality surgical simulation to practice the steps of a hysterectomy surgery.

SMU undergraduate students James Gullett, Thomas Truong and Muaz Wahid, along with high school student Kashvi S., interned in the SMU Center for Global Health Impact in summer 2021.  All four tested various components of a research study training surgeons in Zambia to treat postpartum hemorrhage.  Thomas and Muaz tested and provided feedback on the virtual reality surgical simulation developed at SMU to train surgeons in performing a simple hysterectomy.   

Thomas described his experience  “My role in this project was to go through the eLearning course and Virtual Reality simulation as a complete beginner, noting how the material on disease and surgical interventions was presented and detailing my learning experience throughout. What I took away was an incredibly engaging exposure to medicine, education, and the process of learning. In deep diving into the many nuances of a surgical intervention, I was kept afloat by my experiences with the VR simulation, a way to apply my knowledge hands-on. Only by seeing the real-world application in front of me could I make sense of everything I was learning, an interactive style of teaching that I am confident will not only help Zambian physicians, but students everywhere. 

Thomas reflected “As the summer ended, I realized how this internship made me aware of how I can play a larger role in health and education, especially useful in countries like Zambia where there is often one physician per hundreds, if not thousands, of people. As I pursue a career in medicine, the feeling of being constantly engaged and curious during my time at SMU’s Center for Global Health Impact has directed my attention to medical education, a field I now want to impact in my future.” 

An early stage of the hysterectomy simulation showing clamping of the uterine vessels
An early stage of the hysterectomy simulation showing clamping of the uterine vessels

Muaz, who went into the simulation with confidence given his years of experience with technology through computer video games, was surprised at the level of intricacy and accuracy the simulation required. He shared “Personally, my experience with the hysterectomy surgery simulation made me realize the complexities and challenges of surgery. However, as I watched others like Thomas practice the simulation, I was able to adopt ways to be successful. With a month of practice, I now scored highly with consistency. I was finally able to do the surgery unassisted and help teach others, including a high school student, how to operate the VR.” 

A later stage of the hysterectomy simulation showing suturing on the cardinal ligament. 
A later stage of the hysterectomy simulation showing suturing on the cardinal ligament.

Following testing of the virtual reality surgical simulation at SMU, study material was shipped to Zambia.  In the Fall of 2021, surgeons in Zambia participated in the study.  Data from those participants is being analyzed at SMU.   

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

SMU Students Debate Public Health Measures And Civil Liberties

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.

Students and judges
Two teams answer questions posed by the judges after their proposals on public health measures and limits on 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?”

Judges and students
Judges take notes as students present their arguments during the debate over public health measures and limits on civil liberties.

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.

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

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.

Experts: Face Coverings Key to Combating Pandemic in Dallas

As transmission of SARS-CoV-2 continues in the Dallas region, experts say that face coverings worn over the nose and mouth are an essential tool for keeping the virus at bay. 

Face mask

Several months into the coronavirus pandemic, local public health experts continue to emphasize that Dallasites can help save lives by wearing a face covering in public areas. In an interview with the Dallas Observer, SMU Center for Global Health Impact Director Dr. Eric G. Bing joined three other North Texas physicians in encouraging people to wear face coverings. Bing acknowledged that wearing a face covering may feel awkward, but emphasized that it is a small sacrifice to protect the Dallas community.  

Southern Methodist University has also emphasized the importance of face coverings as part of their Mustang Strong campus health strategy. At SMU, face coverings are required in all public indoor spaces and in other situations when six feet of social distancing is not possible. This strategy was designed to be consistent with the latest public health guidance from Dallas County, which mandates face coverings for county employees and most members of the general public when they are in public spaces or workplaces that preclude six feet of social distancing from others.  

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

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 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.