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Master of Healthcare Administration students take 2nd at competition 

Highway to Health team, Samantha Christensen, Sabrina Franks, and Miquelle Leslie-Cheng.

The case competition team of three second-year Master of Healthcare Administration students from the David Eccles School of Business recently placed second of 41 teams in the 18th annual University of Alabama Birmingham Health Administration Case Competition.

Under the team name Highway to Health, Samantha Christensen, Sabrina Franks, and Miquelle Leslie-Cheng, and their faculty advisor, Larry Hancock, are proud to have matched the record for highest placement by the University of Utah in this prestigious competition. In addition to earning national recognition, the team was awarded a $9,000 prize. Director of the program, Rand Kerr, commented, “This is the premier event for MHA programs and only the second time our students have placed. We are very proud of these students for how well they represented our MHA program and the University of Utah. 

On January 26, competing teams from CAHME-accredited programs across the country received a real-life health administration scenario involving pediatric behavioral healthcare in a major U.S. city. Teams had just over four weeks to research site-specific systems, explore resources and demographics, analyze data, and develop a strategic plan. Christensen, Franks, and Leslie-Cheng worked overtime evenings and weekends creating and refining their model and practicing their presentation. 

We are so grateful to the MHA program and the larger Eccles community for believing in us and supporting us on this journey. Bringing back the prize for the University of Utah was not just a personal achievement, but a collective triumph for our entire program. It’s a testament to the caliber of education we receive at the U,” said Sabrina Franks. 

Their hard work and past competition experience paid off. Franks and Leslie-Cheng first stepped up to the challenge of case competition as members of a team of first-year MHA students participating in a national competition in the spring of 2023 at The Ohio State University. In the fall of 2023, they brought on Christensen and a first-year MHA student, Taylor Moore, to enter the local Leavitt Partners case competition at the University of Utah – where they won first place. All three members of the Highway to Health team have their post-graduation routes planned. Franks and Leslie-Cheng have accepted administrative fellowships at University of Utah Medical Group and University of Utah Hospital and Clinics, respectively, where they will further hone their skills. Christensen’s roadmap leads to Seattle, where she will be a Senior Analyst at ECG Management Consultants.