2017 APRU Global Health Case Competition

The Case

This year’s case challenge is “Promoting Smoke-Free Campuses in the Pacific Rim.” 


Your team will develop its response to the challenge and submit a video that will be judged. Thank you for participating in the second annual APRU Global Health Case Competition. We hope that you will have a challenging and rewarding educational experience. Please remember that this case represents a complex scenario and that there is no single “right” approach. Your challenge is to develop and justify an approach. We encourage teams to consider a balance of innovative yet realistic, evidence-based solutions. Note that the challenge in this case study is hypothetical but many institutions are currently considering how to proceed with this topic.

This case was created exclusively for use in the 2017 APRU Global Health Case Competition. Any reuse, reproduction, or distribution of this case material must be approved by the USC Institute for Global Health or APRU. For questions, please contact Mellissa Withers at mwithers@usc.edu.

Overview of the Challenge

Additional efforts are urgently needed to reduce tobacco use in countries in the Pacific Rim region, which has the highest rates of tobacco use in the world. This project’s goal is to harness the power of universities to raise awareness and to provide leadership and advocacy for tobacco control for communities in the Pacific Rim.


The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations and other international organizations have drawn attention to the urgency of controlling tobacco use. In 2011, tobacco control was identified as the “most urgent and immediate priority” intervention to reduce non-communicable diseases worldwide (Beaglehole et al., 2011). The Pacific Rim is home to 30% of the world’s smokers, representing more than 400 million people. In China, over one-half of males (52.9%) are current tobacco smokers. In other low- and middle-income countries in Asia, almost one- half of men are current smokers and smoking rates among women are increasing (GATS, 2010). Research shows that most adult smokers in these countries initiate smoking in their late teenage years. Electronic cigarettes, now widely available in many Pacific Rim countries, represent a new threat to tobacco control among youth.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and its guidelines provide a framework to implement and manage tobacco control. The WHO MPOWER package recommends interventions such as monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; warning about the dangers of tobacco; enforcing bans on advertisement, promotion and sponsorship; protecting people from tobacco smoke; offering to help quit tobacco use and raising tobacco taxes. Such policies, if fully implemented, can lead to a substantial reduction in premature mortality (WHO, 2015). Although many countries in the Pacific Rim ratified the FCTC, few of these policies have been implemented at the needed levels in all countries in the region. Additional advocacy efforts are urgently needed to spearhead campaigns to reduce tobacco smoking among young people in Pacific Rim countries.

The Proposal

In this challenge, you will plan to develop a program that employs a new and innovative approach: using universities as a platform to promote tobacco control. This program’s main objective is to develop and enhance the capacity of universities as leaders and advocates for tobacco control policies at universities and in communities in the Pacific Rim. Universities are an appropriate and potentially effective site for tobacco control advocacy for several reasons. First, their mission is to educate and provide information. Universities are resources for information for the community and often hold community events. Faculty members are often trusted, well-respected members of the community. Universities also offer the opportunity to harness the energy and motivation of students, and their desire to change the world. Schools of public health, nursing and medicine promote health and well-being and are well-situated to take on the task of tobacco control advocacy. Finally, universities are among the largest employers in their communities. Therefore, proposals should consider the impact of smoke-free campuses on students, as well as the thousands of people employed at the university campuses.

University faculty, students and officials can be called upon to take action against increasing rates of tobacco use and bring publicity to anti-smoking efforts at local, regional and national levels. An important step in advocacy is creating linkages and establishing relationships with key stakeholders who have the common goal of tobacco control. Universities can work with local government agencies and community-based organizations to obtain support and endorsement for their anti-smoking efforts on campuses and in communities. Together, they can work towards the creation of smoke-free environments, especially on campuses and at the workplace. A top priority should be the prohibition of the sale and advertisement of tobacco products to students and minors in places frequented by young people, such as sports venues, recreational sites, bars and nightclubs. Other activities include using universities as a platform for the dissemination of information about the effects of secondhand smoke, and creating smoking cessation programs in the workplace.

For this challenge, your team has been hired as consultants to help with developing and presenting a detailed strategic plan to promote smoke-free campuses in a Pacific Rim country over the next three years. The plan developed by the team should incorporate innovative, up- to-date, and culturally-appropriate strategies to address this issue, focusing on the role of a university. Teams can choose any country/university; it does not have to be their own university. The plan should have at least three separate but related activities or components. Teams should consider real-world opportunities and challenges and come up with a comprehensive plan that is also realistic and could be implemented in practice.

The plan should include:

  • an analysis of data related to tobacco use in Pacific Rim countries
  • an analysis of the chosen country in terms of tobacco use in the age group of concern, as well as a justification for why this country/community was chosen
  • a SWOT analysis as a foundation for the program proposed
  • a detailed description of the main program objectives, activities and expected results
  • timeline of activities with short- and long‐term objectives and an evaluation plan
  • a total budget of US $500,000 for the three-year program with details on how the funds would be used


Teams will present their plan in a 10-12-minute video. Teams are encouraged to develop engaging and creative visual materials (i.e. powerpoint slides) for the presentation but should make the presentation as if the team is making the presentation in front of an audience. The challenge rules require all team members to be physically shown in the videos. However, just as in a live presentation, you can include video clips, slides, and other media/props. Teams should have an introduction as in any presentation to an audience. Following the introduction, the format is open. The team can choose to ‘zoom in’, showing videos, photos, maps, graphs, diagrams, and interviews, for example. Each team can chose its approach. You may want to view last year’s videos »

Provide a link to the video on youtube or vimeo to Mellissa Withers via email to mwithers@usc.edu by 11:59am PST on APRIL 21, 2017. At the beginning of the video, please provide a slide with full name, discipline of study, affiliated department and institution, and academic status as of April 2017 (e.g. undergraduate, graduate, etc.) for each team member. Teams should be comprised of 5-6 members. This should be a student-driven activity with minimal input from faculty mentors, but you can turn to faculty members for guidance.

Please review our competition page for more details on eligibility criteria and judging.

Please note: All teams that submit videos give consent to allow APRU to screen their videos at the conference and to post them on our website.


Beaglehole R, Bonita R, Horton R, Adams C, Alleyne G, Asaria P, Baugh V, Bekedam H, Billo N, Casswell S, Cecchini M, Colagiuri R, Colagiuri S, Collins T, Ebrahim S, Engelgau M, Galea G, Gaziano T, Geneau R, Haines A, Hospedales J, Jha P, Keeling A, Leeder S, Lincoln P, McKee M, Mackay J, Magnusson R, Moodie R, Mwatsama M, Nishtar S, Norrving B, Patterson D, Piot P, Ralston J, Rani M, Reddy KS, Sassi F, Sheron N, Stuckler D, Suh I, Torode J, Varghese C, Watt J; Lancet NCD Action Group; NCD Alliance. “Priority actions for the non-communicable disease crisis.” Lancet. 2011 Apr 23;377(9775):1438-47.

World Health Organization. “WHO Report on the global tobacco epidemic 2015.” Available at: http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_report/2015/en/

World Health Organization. “GATS Fact Sheet: China 2010.” Available at: http://www.who.int/tobacco/surveillance/en_tfi_china_gats_factsheet_2010.pdf?ua=1


University of Sydney, Australia:

University of Indonesia, Indonesia:

Thammasat University, Thailand:

Additional Submissions:

University of Sydney, Australia:

Yale-NUS College, Singapore:

University of Rwanda:

View at link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwBIQONapcAgMFFOd3ZtWV8zTm8/view?usp=drivesdk

University of Indonesia, Indonesia:

Thammasat University, Thailand:

Tohuku University, Japan:

UNSW, Australia:

Our Lady of Fatima University, Philippines:

Our Lady of Fatima University (Quezon), Philippines:

University of Malaya:

Chulalongkorn University, Thailand:

View at link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-coWhgxMLxjeEh2Q0l0eW5JM1U/view

National University of Malaysia, Malaysia:

Fudan University, China:

View at link: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjcxOTE0NTI3Mg==.html?spm=a2h3j.8428770.3416059.1