Multidisciplinary Education at Emory

By: Nimmy Thomas– 2nd Year- Global Epidemiology

      One of the great things about being a graduate student at Emory is that there are a LOT of us here. Rollins is one of seven graduate and professional schools at Emory which includes Laney Graduate School, Goizueta Business School, School of Law, Candler School of Theology, School of Medicine, and our neighbor Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Emory prides itself on offering a multidisciplinary education and there are numerous ways for students to interact across schools/degrees. As a global epidemiology student at Rollins, here are a couple of opportunities I have found for students to engage in global health with a multidisciplinary focus.

Global Health Case Competition
One of my favorite multidisciplinary programs as a participant is the annual Intramural Global Health Case Competition hosted by the Emory Global Health Institute (EGHI). At this event, teams of 6 students from different schools at Emory develop a response to a global health challenge within a one-week time frame and compete in front of judges who are subject matter experts on this topic. You can create your own team with your friends and colleagues from other schools or you can apply as an individual and the Institute will place you in a team. In the two years I have competed, the topics have been local (Addressing Sex Trafficking in Atlanta) and global (Create a Palliative Care Program in Indonesia or Papua New Guinea). It’s a great opportunity for you as a public health student to apply your classroom knowledge (e.g. program development, monitoring and evaluation) on a real-life problem. And you might even make some new friends along the way…


2016 Global Health Case Competition Team 12
2017 Global Health Case Competition Team 12


Multidisciplinary Team Field Scholars
All students at Rollins are required to complete a practicum (200 – 400 hours of applied public health practice). If you are interested in an international practicum, you can apply for GFE (Global Field Experience) funding as an individual or EGHI (Emory Global Health Institute) funding as a team. There are a wide variety of projects that you can participate in from community needs assessment to program planning and evaluations. Projects are posted in mid-Fall on the EGHI website and professors start recruiting students in late October/early November to meet the needs/expectations of their projects. Students from at least three different schools at Emory have to be represented in each team. And as a team, you write up a proposal for funding which is due in early February.  For my practicum, I was a member of a 4-member team (two students from Rollins, one student from Nursing, and one student from Emory College) who conducted qualitative interviews with healthcare teams in Chile to assess the characteristics of an enabling work environment for midwives. It was an incredibly rewarding experience getting to meet individuals who are dedicated to improving maternal and child health in Chile and a wonderful learning opportunity on qualitative research. If you are interested in gaining practical experience in global health with a multidisciplinary approach, I highly recommend finding a practicum opportunity with EGHI.


Aside from these two opportunities, there are numerous other ways to take advantage of the multidisciplinary education here at Emory – take an elective outside of Rollins, join clubs and organizations at other schools or join the Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA). And if you don’t find something that fits your interests or meets your needs, talk to a faculty member or Student Services and create your own program!

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