Wicked Problem Case Competition


All the easy problems have been solved, leaving us with what Professor John Kao calls “Wicked Problems”, those highly complex problems whose potential solutions require creative, interdisciplinary thinking. The Dean of the School of Public Health will sponsor the Wicked Problem Case Competition to bring together some of the best teams of thinkers from UAB and in our community to provide solutions to a particular problem.  The winners of the competition will be recognized during National Public Health week on April 6th at The Edge of Chaos.



Students can register as individuals, in which case they will be assigned to a team, or students can register as a team of up to 6 members.  If there are fewer students that want to be on the same team that is fine, the full team complement will be filled in later.  The deadline to register TBA.


Kickoff Luncheon

On Monday, March 28, 2016, between the hours of 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at a location to be announced, the competition will be launched with a luncheon and panel discussion.  Teams will receive the case, logistics packet and meet their team mentor. Teams will be assigned a faculty or professional mentor with whom they will be able to meet for up to 1 hour on or before Friday, March 13th to get feedback on their ideas. Strategies on preparing and participating in the competition will be shared at the kickoff event.  Please note that it is not mandatory for all team members to be present at the kickoff event.


Team Workday Breakfast

On Friday, April 1, 2016 (ALL DAY) at The Edge of Chaos, the competitive case teams will be invited to a breakfast and informal panel discussion comprised of subject matter experts. They will offer their unique perspectives and clarify any questions that teams may have encountered since the kickoff meeting.


Final Team Presentations/Judging

On Saturday, April 2nd at 8 AM - 12 PM at Ryals & The Edge of Chaos, teams will begin presenting their case solutions.  A panel of judges with public health expertise will select the winning team based on creativity, presentation, analysis of the problem, recommendations, content, and response to questions. Teams will have 10 minutes to present with 5 minutes of questions from the judging panel. 



Prizes will be distributed equally among team members and paid directly to each participant.

  • First place- $1,500
  • Second place- $1,000
  • Third place- $500

Past Cases

2014 Case: Sexual ViolenceAmong College Students
2013 Case: Environmental Contamination in Birmingham
2012 Case: Syphilis Epidemic in Jefferson County, Alabama

2014 Team Presentations

1st place‐ Team 12: Our Voice

Andrew Metzler, Health Professions
Sydney Elkins, Health Professions
Chelsea Payne, Health Professions
Sharice Mincey, Health Professions
Melissa Pickering, Health Professions

2nd place‐ Team 13: The Gladiators

Alison Allen, Health Professions
Jennifer Dingle, Health Professions
Claire Sharp, Health Professions
Cassie Talley, Health Professions
Megan Battles, Health Professions
Storey Hickman, Health Professions

3rd place‐ Team 9: SHAPE

Jasmine Howard, College of Arts and Sciences
Amber Dixon, College of Arts and Sciences
Sherilyn Garner, Public Health
Evan Thomas, Medicine


For more information, please contact Max Michael, MD, Dean, UAB School of Public Health at (205) 975-7742 or maxm@uab.edu.