What is a case competition?

The purpose of a case competition is to provide students with an opportunity to learn about the intricacies of real-world global health problems and to creatively develop potential solutions to address them. In a case competition, teams are required to consider and consequently develop a potential solution to a pressing global health issue. The solutions provided will then be critiqued by a panel of experts in global health and business. The Office of Global Public Health Education and Training and Juxtaposition Global Health Magazine believe that learning should not be limited to the classroom. Rather, engaging with material outside of the classroom space allows for the development of critical-thinking skills. These skills are practical and necessary in acknowledging the complexities of global health issues and the cultural dynamics that play a role. Toronto Thinks is open to students from a variety of disciplines because we recognize that global issues are nuanced, and solutions require a diverse set of understandings.

In North America, case competitions are often associated with business schools. In recent years, however, global health disciplines have been able to successfully use this platform to build capacity in and interdisciplinary knowledge of solutions to pressing global health issues. Toronto Thinks is modeled after the global health case competitions hosted by Emory University. This year, our competition will take place on the 26th (Saturday) and 27th of January (Sunday). A week prior to the event, participants will be introduced to this year’s case. On Saturday the 26th, we will host a Work Day where teams are provided a space in which they may collaborate to tackle the case in question. During the Work Day, participants will have the opportunity to be mentored by their assigned case advisor. Furthermore, they will be able to work on the case in a conducive environment for innovative thought. On Competition Day, each team will have a time-slot of twenty-five minutes. Students are expected to spend the first fifteen minutes presenting their solution to the global health issue being investigated. Then, the next ten minutes will be used to answer inquiries posed by our panel of judges.

Case competitions enable one to develop skills in problem-solving, team-work, innovation, public speaking, and more. We hope that this event will provide students with an opportunity to experience critical thinking outside of the classroom, practice solution-based learning and multi-sectoral thinking. If you are interested in global health, policy, business, international development, or simply want a new learning experience, do not hesitate to register.

Who is eligible?

All current University of Toronto students, including graduate, professional, and undergraduate students, are eligible to participate in the 2019 Toronto Thinks Global Health Case Competition. There are no limits on delegate age or level of education.

How do I prepare?

No prior experience and/or education in global health is required. Please ensure that you have read the case guide prior to the competition weekend. Although additional preparation is not required, teams may find it useful to practice their skills using a case from another global health case competition. We also encourage teams to do an internal skills assessment and identify potential resources/contacts for use during the case competition itself. If you have any questions about preparation, please feel free to contact us at tothinkscasecomp@gmail.com.

What will the case be about?

Past Toronto Thinks Global Health Case Competition topics have included:

  • Maternal mortality in Afghanistan,
  • Tobacco use among children in Indonesia,
  • Monitoring tuberculosis in Ukraine,
  • and traffic-related air pollution in Toronto and globally

Future topics may focus on global health policy, environmental and/or business issues.

What will the event include? 

The event will include fantastic prizes for competition winners, mentorship, interaction and feedback from judges, work rooms, reception on Sunday as well as meals throughout the weekend (breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday/Sunday). More details to come as the event approaches!

How much does it cost?

  • The registration fee for Toronto Thinks 2019 will be $120 per team. This will include all fees and taxes for the event.
  • The team fees will offset some of the costs related to event operations such as meals (light breakfast, lunch and dinner/reception), event space and a/v, prizes etc.
  • In order to register properly you will need credit card information when registering on Eventbrite

To make alternative payment plans or if the registration fees would prohibit you and your team from participating please e-mail ghoffice.dlsph@utoronto.ca

How do I find teammates?

Students are welcome to form their own teams. If you would like to register but need to find teammates, please add your contact information to our easy Google Doc. Please note that registration is only accepted on a team-by-team basis––you may not register as an individual.

For more information about past Toronto Thinks Case Competitions please visit our Facebook page.

What are case advisors and how will they help us?

Each team will be randomly assigned a case advisor. They will act as mentors and will provide a ‘60 minute lifeline’ for teams prior to competition day. Teams will be able to discuss ideas and gain constructive feedback from your case advisor.

Case advisors are chosen because of their multidisciplinary, multisectoral expertise and interest in student mentorship. Last year, case advisors were recruited from DLSPH faculty and staff, faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellow associated with the Collaborative Specialization in Global Health and OGPHET, other OGPHET colleagues, and DLSPH Alumni, with the support of the Office of Advancement.

One tip for making the most of the case advisor experience, is to have a first draft presentation that the advisor can respond to. We also suggest that teams come up with a few questions for their advisor. Remember, advisors are your point of contact, as each one has a variety of skills and experience that will aid in the development of your presentation. Though advisors are not specialists in the case topic area, they have strong general knowledge in public health as well as other areas (i.e. business and innovation).

Last year, participant feedback suggested that the case advisor experience was one of the most positive aspects of the competition

Is there a recommended team arrangement? (Business, Public Health, Social Sciences etc.)

The nature of the competition will require multidisciplinary problem solving. It is advantageous to have group members skilled in different areas.

Do we get assigned case advisors or do we choose a case advisor for our group?

Each group will be randomly assigned a case advisor for the competition.

Do all group members have to present during the competition?

Yes, all team members must present and be ready to answer any follow-up questions from the judges.

What does the weekend look like? (How many times will we present, what are streams etc.)

Event Schedule:


  • Registration and breakfast
  • Welcome
  • Team collaboration in assigned workspace throughout the day
  • Lunch
  • Case advisor sessions- each team member must be in attendance for their session
  • Dinner
  • Conclusion


  • Participants must submit their final presentation via USB
  • Teams will compete in one of four streams for the preliminary round
  • Each team will have a time-slot of 25 minutes- 15 minute presentation, 10 minute Q&A.
  • Lunch will be provided
  • Judges deliberation and team debrief session (refreshments available)
  • The top team in each stream will be announced, and finalists will be called to present for the final round
  • Concluding reception

Each team is required to present once during the preliminary round, and once more if you make it to the final round.

Further details will be provided closer to event day!

How are team captains chosen?

Each team will choose a team captain who will be responsible for team registration and corresponding with case competition planners.

Can we work on the case competition from home?

Space will be provided for team members to collaborate, but teams may work where they feel most comfortable. However, all team members must be present in the assigned space during the meeting with the case advisor.

When can we start working on the case?

Case details will be released a week prior to the competition (Saturday, January 19th at noon). Teams may work on the case as soon as the information is released.

What resources can our group use to research? Are we allowed to ask advice from people we know outside of our team?

We encourage you to use all available resources including your networks. Please make sure to give appropriate credit in your presentation.

Are we allowed to invite friends and family to view the competition?

Yes, guests are welcome to attend all presentations. Please keep in mind that the presentation schedule will not be announced until Sunday morning.

Can participants watch the presentations?

Everyone is invited to watch the final round, but preliminary presentations are closed to participants. We encourage you to work on your own presentation during that time.

Who writes the cases?

Cases are written by U of T students with the advice of appropriate faculty, our case partner organization, and other relevant professionals.

What are some important aspects the presentation should include? What is the criteria for scoring?

The judging rubric will be provided alongside the case a week prior to the competition.

What format does the presentation have to be?

We only accept presentations in PowerPoint format.

Why should I participate in the case competition?

Case competitions provide the opportunity to develop a variety of transferable skills. Last year, participants provided very positive feedback regarding skill development.

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What is the time commitment?

There is no set time commitment.  However, we do recommend team members meet in early January to discuss individual roles and create a schedule for competition week. Once the case is made available, we suggest that teams have a preliminary meeting to discuss case content. Many teams work on the case throughout competition week. Please make sure that you are free throughout Saturday and Sunday for the Workday and Case Competition respectively.

How can I get involved if I’m not approved to compete in the case competition?

If you are not approved to compete but are interested in participating, our team depends on a collection of committed volunteers to aid in the planning and facilitation of the event. Also, everyone is welcome to watch team presentations on competition day.

What are the prizes?

Prizes for this year will be announced closer to the event date as they are being confirmed. However last year there were a number of categories, and some of the prizes included;

  • Breakfast with public health mentors
  • Separate presentation and networking with Toronto Public Health Stakeholders
  • Breakfast with a sponsoring Law firm
  • Electric Car Driving (related to theme of Toronto Thinks 2018 – Air Pollution)
  • Business subscription to a infographic tool Venngage.com
  • Gift Cards
  • Article published in Juxtaposition Global Health Magazine

How do we register?

One team member registers and provides the information of all team members. Information must include first and last name, e-mail (preferably U of Toronto account) and program of study for each member of team.

The team member becomes the ‘captain’ and is responsible for communicating any information provided by the organizing committee. You are able to make changes to your team roster up to January 19th, 2018 by notifying ghoffice.dlsph@utoronto.ca and meeting the required number of team members (4-6 people).

What if my team couldn’t register in time?

You are able to sign up on the waitlist through Eventbrite registration. Please make sure you have all team information in case a spot opens up.