University of Minnesota - Campus Overview

Interdisciplinary Health Data Competition

The University of Minnesota hosted its first interdisciplinary health data competition in 2020.  The goal of the competition was to promote interdisciplinary dialogue around real-world healthcare challenges and for students to provide innovative solutions using data science tools and methodologies.  This event encouraged graduate students across all disciplines at the Twin Cities campus to practice, enhance, and showcase their understanding of real-world healthcare problems and their abilities to solve them with innovative use of data science. 

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Health Data Competition! 

All presentation materials, including video content, are property of the authors, and duplication is prohibited.  All materials have been posted with the consent of the authors. 

First Place

The Economic Burden of Extended-Release Pharmaceuticals in Minnesota

  • Laura Barrie Smith, PhD Health Service Research, Policy, and Administration, School of Public Health
  • Alex Everhart, PhD Health Service Research, Policy, and Administration, School of Public Health
  • Yuanyuan Qiu, MS Data Science, College of Science and Engineering
  • Jiani Zhou, PhD Health Service Research, Policy, and Administration, School of Public Health
  • Yi Zhu, PhD Information and Decision Sciences, Carlson School


Second Place

Addressing Medicaid OTC Prescription Spend

  • Chaitanya Chittineni, MD, Medical School; MBA, Carlson School
  • Joanne Dehnbostel, Epidemiology, MPH, School of Public Health
  • Edward Walczak, MD, Medical School; MBA, Carlson School
  • Jake Wythers, MBA, Carlson School

Third Place

Uncovering the Cost of Diabetes

  • Fadlullah Ba'th, MD, Medical School
  • Jennifer Brown, PhD Neuroscience, Medical School; JD, Law School
  • Jake Gray, JD, Law School
  • Kristine Nachbor, MD, Medical School
  • Caroline Sell, JD, Law School; MPH, School of Public Health

Thank you to our judges

This competition would not be possible without the involvement, support, and insights of the many individuals who volunteered their time to serve as judges for this competition.   Our sincere appreciation to all of our judges! 

Arjun Kataria, MBA

Business Analyst Consultant



Jin Li, MBA

University of St. Thomas


Spencer Merchant, MBA

Senior Product Manager 



Rami Shandaq

Senior Product Analyst



Caitlin Carroll, PhD

Assistant Professor

Division of Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health


Joel Farley, PhD

Professor & Associate Head

Department of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems, College of Pharmacy 


Russell Funk, PhD

Assistant Professor

Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship, Carlson School of Management


Steve Johnson, PhD

Director, Informatics Innovation Dissemination

Institute for Health Informatics, Office of Academic Clinical Affairs


Pinar Karaca-Mandic, PhD

Associate Professor, MILI Academic Director 

Department of Finance, Carlson School of Management 


De Liu, PhD

Associate Professor, MSBA Academic Director

Information & Decision Sciences, Carlson School of Management


Helen Parsons, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor

Division Of Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health


Ashwini Sankar, PhD

Data Analyst

Carlson School of Management

Luke Slindee, PharmD

Clinical Director



Sara Turnbow, PharmD, MS, BCPS

Contracts Manager

Minnesota Department of Health


Mark Wehde, MBA, MSBME 

Chair, Division of Engineering

Mayo Clinic 


William Woywod, MBA, MPH

Managing Consultant

Guidehouse Consulting (FKA Navigant)

Competition Information

Students will complete an exploratory analysis of newly released prescription drug use and cost data from the Minnesota Department of Health's Minnesota All Payer Claims Database to generate innovative insights and ideas for policy action pertaining to riding drug costs.  

Teams can select a topic that is of interest to them.  Below are example topics to consider: 

  • Trends of drug therapies including cost and utilization among certain populations, locations, or payers
  • Analyze changes over time and identify areas in need of innovation
  • Examine cost drivers and use analyses to propose policy changes and interventions for lowering drug costs
  • Examine the uptake of new drug treatments including trends and prescription rates of new drugs and the impact on the cost of alternatives
  • Assess drug safety and responses to utilization including FDA safety communications, black box warnings, and recalls  

The Heath Data Competition dataset is provided by the Minnesota Department of Health's Minnesota All Payer Claims Database, a data system authorized by the legislature for health policy development in Minnesota.  The healthcare claims data is from medical providers' billing records sent to insurance companies, plan administrators and public payers.  It includes health care claims managed by nearly all private and public payers, including inpatient, outpatient, and long-term care settings, a unique distinction among claims databases in the country.  

The newly released public use files represent the single most comprehensive view of health care in Minnesota and offers an unprecedented opportunity for Minnesota to learn more about what types of services are provided across the state, how much they cost, and what outcomes are achieved.    

To learn more about the MN All Payer Claims Database, visit their website.

  • Submit a one-page Executive Summary - maximum of 500 words (not including references) 
  • Submit a PowerPoint presentation outlining the team's project - maximum of 20 slides 
  • Record a voice-over with PowerPoint, presenting the team's analysis, insights, and innovations - maximum of 20 minutes
  • Finalists will present projects to judges - each team has 20 minutes to present followed by 5 minutes for judges' questions
  • A rubric will be provided when data is released on March 18
  • Competition is open to all current graduate and professional degree-seeking students
  • Maximum of 5 students per team 
  • Each team must have students from at least 2 different colleges or schools within the University
  • Individual students may only participate on one team
  • You can form your own team or you can request to be placed on a team
  • First Place Team: $4,000
  • Second Place Team: $2,000
  • Third Place Team: $1,000
  • February 17: Registration opens
  • March 2: Introduction to data webinar (will be recorded). 
  • March 12: Last day to register
  • March 18: Competition Kick-Off and data release event, 5:00 - 6:00 pm - changed to webinar. VIEW RECORDED WEBINAR
  • April 10: All project submissions due by 11:59 pm CST
  • April 15: Finalists announced
  • April 16: Finalists' presentations - final round will be virtual through Zoom meetings 

What years are covered in the MN APCD?

  • The files include data from 2012 and 2016.  We are interested in what conclusions, innovations, and recommendations teams can make using the snapshots from these two years. 

Will data be available to address the years between 2012 and 2016? 

  •  Teams can use additional publicly available data to fill in any gaps to support their project. 

Do we have to use VoiceThread for the voiceover recording? 

  • Teams can use any method of recording the voice-over on their slides; however, we recommend VoiceThread or Zoom.

I registered as an individual. When will I find out what team I am on? 

  • Emails will be sent on March 13th to all registered participants and will include their team members' information as well as other important details.   

Introduction and Q & A Webinar

Prof. Pinar Karaca-Mandic spoke with Stefan Gildemeister and Erinn Sandstead from the Minnesota Department of Health for an introduction and Q & A on the Minnesota All Payer Claims Database (MN APCD).  These data files will be released for use in the Health Data Competition on March 18th.

View the webinar slides HERE



Contact Kim Choyke

MILI Program Administrator