Fourth-year public relations major Sarah McRae and her team won second place at UGA's first Global Health Case Competition. (Graphic from UGA Global Health Union).

Public relations student wins second place in UGA Global Health Case Competition

Fourth-year public relations student Sarah McRae from Peachtree Corners, Georgia, recently participated in the University of Georgia’s Global Health Union’s first Global Health Case Competition. Her team of six won second place at the virtual event with their research in developing a sustainable solution to a current international health problem.

McRae’s team focused on reducing child malnutrition in northeast Kenya. After the first round, her team was one of three that moved on to the final round. When the judges proposed a twist, they had one hour to change their focus to a specific refugee camp instead of a region of the country. 

“I remember they were asking us to introduce our majors, and our mentor was like, ‘I want the team with one Grady person.'”

As a global health minor, McRae is passionate about health communication. Her interest in learning about different cultures around the world began in an intercultural communication class, McRae said. McRae, who also serves as a Yarbrough-Grady Fellow specializing in crisis communication, hopes to pursue a career in health communication after graduating in May. 

There were eight teams in the global health competition. Teams were made up of undergraduate and graduate students who had to have at least two different schools represented. 

McRae’s team met and worked virtually for four months with a faculty mentor before the competition at the end of 2020. During the first meeting, McRae was sought out for having a different skill set than the rest of the students.

“I remember they were asking us to introduce our majors, and our mentor was like, I want the team with one Grady person,” McRae said. “I thought it was really cool that someone in a totally different industry and totally different school looked at Grady like that, and revered it and wanted to work with my whole team based on a unique skill set that not many other teams have.”

McRae found her place among the STEM majors and Ph.D. students in her group when it came time to present their findings and plan to the judges. 

“I feel like it just kind of made me realize even more that PR and communications has a place in any industry, and especially on the medical side,” McRae said.

Date: February 26, 2021
Author:  Megan Mittelhammer,