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December 14, 2022

The Health Innovation Roundup, sponsored by Health Cities, is written and published weekly by Taproot Edmonton to bring you the latest news and events in research, technology, companies and people changing health for the better in Edmonton.

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Here are some highlights from this week’s Health Innovation Roundup:



  • Alberta Innovates and Alberta Blue Cross have formed a strategic partnership to connect employees with digital health solutions to help them manage mental health issues and chronic disease conditions. There are nearly 500,000 health-related digital tools on the market, creating an overwhelming choice for people seeking to improve their wellness. “This partnership will aid people in that search,” says the release.
  • The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) shared a video of its recent meetup on the challenges of building AI-based models for healthcare, presented by data scientist Neil C. Borle, who discussed the use of machine learning models to predict changes in blood sugar levels for people with Type 1 diabetes.
  • Future Fields has become the first Canadian recombinant protein manufacturer to join the UN Global Compact Initiative, which calls on companies to “align their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
  • True Angle Medical announced it has achieved the milestone of 120,000 swallows completed using its swallowing exercise system. “Our heart is full as we advance our mission to help clinicians and patients join efforts to #kickdysphagia,” the company said.
  • Two patients at the Stollery Children’s Hospital are the first in North America to use a more mobile type of ventricular assist device, called a Berlin Heart EXCOR Active, as they wait for heart transplants. “Our goal is not to have patients waiting for months in a hospital,” Dr. Holger Buchholz said in a release. “We want to try to get them home, integrate them in their normal life again, go to school, the playground, be able to be around their friends and siblings. It’s really the next step for better healthcare and better outcomes.” The Pediatric Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Program, a joint program supported by the Stollery and the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, is one of the largest VAD programs in North America.
  • The father of Ben Stelter, the six-year-old Edmonton Oilers fan who passed away from an aggressive glioblastoma brain tumour on Aug. 9, announced the launch of the Ben Stelter Fund to help children who are battling cancer. The fund, which was kick-started with $100,000 donated by Connor McDavid and entrepreneur Ashif Mawji, will support four key pillars: outcome-based research into glioblastoma and other pediatric cancers, medical equipment, magical experiences for children, and venture philanthropy. “We want Ben’s name and his legacy to go on forever, and I think this is the perfect way,” said Ben’s father Mike.
  • Nominations are open for the inaugural Dr. William Cochrane Health System Innovation Award until Feb. 28. The award recognizes an Albertan whose innovation has transformed the healthcare system and improved patient outcomes. Nominees can have clinical, research, or business backgrounds, with responsibility for the innovation of a product, service, or process.
  • Expressions of interest are due Dec. 18 for the HealthTech Home project initiated by Health Cities and the Brenda Strafford foundation. The project seeks to reduce pressure on health systems by integrating technology and innovative health solutions for seniors at home.
  • pharmacist-led walk-in clinic has opened in Fort Saskatchewan inside a Shoppers Drug Mart. It works like any walk-in clinic, but a pharmacist sees patients instead of a doctor, diverting people with minor ailments like a bladder infection or a need to renew a prescription away from other parts of the healthcare system. Mayor Gale Katchur welcomed the development. “We’re hearing from citizens all over the province that they can’t get in to see a doctor, the walk-in clinics are fully booked, go to emergency and they wait 10 hours,” she told Global News. “That’s not acceptable.”
  • The city announced 25 recipients of this year’s Community Safety and Well-being (CSWB) Grant, who will receive a combined $1.58 million. “These diverse community organizations have put forward inspiring and innovative projects to advance our collective goals of prioritizing anti-racism and reconciliation, eradicating poverty, improving mental health, and advocating for justice,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. The program received 226 applications this year.
  • MacEwan University social work student Christine Wincentaylo started her A Tin A Day project two years ago and has since given out 500 self-care kits to those in need. The kits include personal hygiene products and a list of mental health resources. “I think it’s interesting to see, the people I’ve talked to on the streets are saying thank you, but I don’t think they know how much they’ve helped me,” Wincentaylo told CBC.


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