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Helping others on a global scale

Grad students educate the people of Cameroon on clean water and proper sanitation

Graduate students at three USC schools won the fourth annual USC Global Health Case Competition.

The annual competition organized by the USC Institute for Global Health featured a challenge addressing the social impact of global giving programs at TOMS, a company known for its one-to-one retail sales model. 

Approximately 80 students representing more than 10 USC schools participated in the competition.

Jay Lytton, Mitch Out, Amy Patel, Edwin Kulubya and Fereshte (Nina) Kharazmi led the winning team, representing the USC School of Social Work, the USC Marshall School of Business and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Shira Shafir, director of social innovation and impact at TOMS, was among the judges who watched the presentations of the top three finalists.

“I was really impressed with the group and the solutions it presented,” Shafir said.

Songs and storytelling

The team’s solution involved a plan to incorporate local song, dance and storytelling to educate Cameroonians on the importance of wearing shoes, drinking clean water and maintaining good sanitation practices.

“Ultimately, we took micro theoretical frameworks and concepts about data analytics but implemented them at the macro level,” Lytton said. “The solution to the case was not a business solution. It was a social work solution.”

After the competition, Shafir presented data about global health and social innovation at TOMS for the USC Global Health Lecture Series.

The winning team went on to compete in the International Emory Global Health Case Competition at Emory University in Atlanta.

Though the USC team did not win, Lytton was still upbeat about his team’s work.

“Beyond just focusing on research, we have to also think about its implications,” he said. “We can think about everything from theory to what happens in real life and find that common ground. That’s what’s going to push innovation forward.”

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Helping others on a global scale

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