Students take first in health care competition

UIC’s team included (from left) Martin Finnegan, Crissel Marie Arban, Srilalitha Akurati and Jennifer Neely.

A team of UIC students placed first in the 2019 CLARION National Interprofessional Case Competition, hosted by the University of Minnesota’s CLARION board April 13.

“The National CLARION Case Competition is where teams of four students from at least two different health backgrounds present a 20-minute proposal about their recommended solutions to a problem described in the case for that year,” said Crissel Marie Arban, a doctoral candidate in the UIC College of Pharmacy.

The theme of this year’s competition was health care and housing for the rising encampment rates of homeless individuals in Hennepin County, Minnesota. 

“CLARION is unique because there is a requirement that the students that make up the team need to be from different health care areas to create a truly interprofessional team and thus a well-rounded solution,” said Jennifer Neely, Graduate-Entry master’s student in the College of Nursing.

In addition to Neely and Arban, the team also included Martin Finnegan, a dual-degree master’s student in social work and public health, and Srilalitha Akurati, a master’s student in healthcare administration.

“CLARION is a student-driven organization,” said Frank Borgers, co-faculty adviser, UIC Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Open School Chapter, and chair of the UIC Interprofessional Curriculum Workgroup.

The UIC team became involved in the competition through the UIC IHI Open School Chapter, which is co-led by Marianne Durham, clinical assistant professor and director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

The team’s efforts paid off during the competition, Arban said.

“I already started tearing up when we made it into the Top 3 final rounds, so winning first place was a dream come true. All our hard work over the past few months were finally worth it,” Arban said.                      

“I loved this experience and truly believe it will help me become a better health care provider in the future. It was a pleasure and an honor to work with and learn from such hardworking teammates, supportive advisors, and passionate and experienced experts in the field.”

For more information on the UIC IHI Open School Chapter, email

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