MHA students earn second place in case competition

A team of students for West Virginia University School of Public Health Master of Health Administration placed second in the Meritus Health Case Competition, which took place on Feb. 15 and 16 in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Each team was tasked with the same challenge: provide two or three innovative strategies to improve rural health outcomes in Meritus Health’s service areas located in Washington County, Maryland; Southern Pennsylvania; and West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle.

Students Lydia Ferrell, Megan Townsend and Haley Cothern developed a proposal focused on meeting the social and healthcare needs of populations disproportionately affected by Type II diabetes and hypertension—specifically persons with frequent emergency department visits and inpatient re/admissions. Their strategy bridges the gap between persons from diverse backgrounds and Meritus Health by creating personal connections via a peer advocate program and osteopathic medical students’ community service, and by leveraging technology through the use of remote patient monitoring.

France Weaver, professor and MHA program director, and Professor Heather Henderson supported the team through the proposal development. In addition, several faculty members, alumni and friends of the MHA program provided feedback to the students.

“Placing second is an outstanding achievement considering it was the first time students of the WVU MHA program participated in a case competition,” Weaver said.

Teams from various MHA programs across the country presented their proposals to the Meritus Health leadership team, including president and CEO Maulik Joshi. The competition was organized by the current and former administrative fellows at Meritus Health, Carly Critchfield and Ethan Feldmiller.

To learn more about the WVU School of Public Health MHA program, visit


CONTACT: Lindsay Wiles
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WVU School of Public Health