UIW MHA Student Team Takes First Place in the Trinity University Healthcare PRISm Pitch Competition

March 22, 2024

Alexandra AguirreEach year, second-year students in UIW’s H-E-B School of Business and Administration (HEBSBA) Master of Health Administration (MHA) program participate in PRISm (Problems Require Innovative Solutions) Pitch Competition as part of their UIW MHA leadership and marketing courses. The Healthcare PRISm is a virtual pitch competition in which teams of health administration graduate students from across the country identify and validate a specific problem of their choice, then develop and pitch their concept for an innovative solution to panels of judges.

This year, the UIW MHA student team known as PHNX, comprised of Alexandra Aguirre (pictured first), Shelby Chisolm (pictured second) and Adan Garcia (pictured third), ranked first place in the Trinity University PRISm Pitch Competition for designing an innovative endotracheal tube stabilization device that could transform burn care and the patient experience.

Before their participation in the competition, MHA students were exposed to entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial concepts in their leadership course.  As part of the course curriculum, students develop their own innovative product, service or process to solve a problem they or others are experiencing in the healthcare delivery system.

In the first round of the competition, judges selected 16 teams to advance based upon their written concept submissions. Upon advancing from the first round, the PHNX team then participated in “coaching” sessions with healthcare entrepreneurs while also refining their concepts and pitch in their spring healthcare marketing course.

Shelby ChisolmLater, the team gave a five-minute pitch in the bracket rounds where they received supportive feedback from the judges on how to improve their pitch. UIW’s team also participated in the “Elevate” round, which provides teams that did not win best in category bracket rounds another chance to participate in the finals.

After winning the Elevate round, UIW’s PHNX team competed in the final round, where they earned the “best in show” category, were announced winners of the entire competition and took home a monetary prize of $5,000. The team earned an extra $1,000 in prize money, paid by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Management Programs (CAHME), since UIW’s MHA program is CAHME accredited. The judges were extremely impressed with the team’s concept, depth of research, professional pitch and ability to respond to their probing questions.

This is the first time UIW’s team has progressed beyond the bracket rounds and was named the overall champions.

“Winning this competition meant so much to me,” noted Aguirre. “It really validated all the effort and time we put into developing PHNX. It was also amazing to see other people be just as excited as we were about our product. The MHA program at UIW provided us with the foundation to excel in this competition. Every course we’ve taken in the program provided us the knowledge to incorporate bits and pieces into our concept.”

Adan GarciaChisolm added that the MHA program “has adeptly equipped us for various roles in healthcare, enabling us to contribute significantly to real-world healthcare challenges through innovative solutions. I am so grateful for the opportunity we had to showcase our knowledge through the PRISm competition. It was a transformative experience for Team PHNX, and I believe it will catalyze so much more!"

Dr. Chris Nesser, MHA program director, and Dr. Lynn Downs, MHA associate professor, served as the team’s faculty advisors.

“Working with such amazing students and supporting their efforts is what drives the MHA faculty to give our all to them and this program,” shared Nesser. “The future of healthcare looks bright because of who our future health administrators will be!”