August 15, 2018
Winning five-member team from California Northstate University, College of Medicine will travel abroad to provide health care for underserved patients
Chicago – The American Medical Association (AMA) and the AMA Insurance Agency today announced that a team of medical students from California Northstate University, College of Medicine (CNUCOM) is the winner of the 2018 AMA Global Health Challenge. Based on their essay and video submissions, the five-member team—known as the “CNUCOM Global Health Dream Team”—has won the opportunity to work alongside Timmy Global Health to care for patients in underserved populations abroad. 
“It is my pleasure to congratulate the California Northstate University, College of Medicine ‘Global Health Dream Team’ for winning the 2018 AMA Global Health Challenge. By winning the contest, this five-medical student team will have the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally while providing health care to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. “Through their upcoming service trip abroad, these future physicians will gain global health experiences that will help them foster a lifelong passion for service to the neediest populations, both at home and abroad, and develop a deeper understanding of the social determinants of health—leading to better health outcomes for patients.”
The winning team was selected for its essay and video entries in the 2018 AMA Global Health Challenge—an essay and video contest giving a team of physicians-in-training and students of other health care professions an opportunity to travel abroad to provide health care for underserved patients. Later this year, the winning team will travel abroad with Timmy Global Health to care for populations in either Ecuador, Guatemala or the Dominican Republic.
“The winning team from California Northstate University, College of Medicine embodies the ideals we most sought in this contest: empathy, a desire to learn and grow, and deep compassion for patients. We are grateful to the AMA for sponsoring this contest and for supporting this team of future health care providers. We are excited to have them join forces with Timmy Global Health, partnering in pursuit of a healthier and more equitable world,” said Timmy Global Health’s Executive Director Kristina Graff.
The contest, sponsored by the AMA Insurance Agency, Inc., was open to teams of at least two and up to five pre-medical and medical students, residents and students in allied health fields from across the country. Each team was asked to submit an essay of 500 words or less answering the question: “How can a deeper understanding of the social determinants of health help you, as an aspiring global health professional, to learn and grow?” Following essay submission, 10 teams were selected as finalists by a panel of judges to create and submit a video for posting on the contest website as part of the final round of the challenge. The winning team’s essay and video submissions can be found at
“Our team members, including Purnima Gurung, Kyumin Shim, Han (Cindy) Lam, Aaron Yim, and myself, have recognized the need for culturally sensitive care in our local communities in northern California. As medical students from a new school, we are excited and grateful to have the chance to volunteer with Timmy Global Health; this opportunity will allow us to immerse ourselves in new communities, expand our understanding of global health, and cultivate skills and qualities that will make us better physicians. We look forward to the new experiences we will gain on this trip and we hope to utilize the acquired knowledge and skills to better provide for patients, empower our communities, reduce health disparities in underserved populations, and deliver competent care to those most in need. Thank you to the AMA, Timmy Global Health, Med Plus Advantage, International Medical Group, and everyone who voted and supported us in this journey. This is just the beginning!” said Shebani Dandekar, team leader of the CNUCOM Global Health Dream Team, winning team of the 2018 AMA Global Health Challenge.
The AMA Global Health Challenge was created by the AMA Insurance Agency’s Med Plus Advantage program. The Med Plus Advantage program partners with International Medical Group to promote the contest and offers international medical insurance for those traveling abroad. To learn more about coverage for allied health students, medical students, residents, and their families visit
Kelly Jakubek                                      
AMA Media & Editorial                                     
(312) 464-4443                             
About the AMA
The American Medical Association is the powerful ally and unifying voice for America’s physicians, the patients they serve, and the promise of a healthier nation. The AMA attacks the dysfunction in health care by removing obstacles and burdens that interfere with patient care. It reimagines medical education, training, and lifelong learning for the digital age to help physicians grow at every stage of their careers, and it improves the health of the nation by confronting the increasing chronic disease burden. For more information, visit
About Timmy Global Health
Timmy Global Health expands access to healthcare and empowers students and volunteers to tackle today’s most pressing global health challenges. To achieve this goal, Timmy sends medical service teams to support the work of international partner organizations and channels financial, medical, and human resources to community based health and development projects. For more information, visit
About AMA Insurance Agency, Inc.
Established in 1988 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Medical Association, AMA Insurance Agency, Inc. is dedicated to meeting the insurance needs of physicians, medical students, their families and employees. For more information, visit