Recap of the 2019 Innovators' Challenge event

2019 Featured Research Projects

Event attendees were the first to witness three local medical teams pitch their groundbreaking ideas to revolutionize patient care to the Accelerators Panel. Congratulations to them all.

  • Dr. Peter Skarsgard – Surgical Mitral Valve Repair. Percutaneously | Recipient of Judge’s Choice $300,000 Award
  • Dr. Eitan Prisman – Real Time Reconstruction | Recipient of $50,000 Audience Choice Bradshaw Prize
  • Dr. Martin McKeown – The Headband | Recipient of $25,000 Ricci Penn Prize

UPDATE on the 2018 Research Project Finalists

The Headband: A novel stimulator to prevent falls

Ricci Penn Prize Recipient 

Falls are the main cause of injury-related hospital visits among elderly Canadians. Dr. Martin McKeown is developing a lightweight wearable device to prevent falls by connecting an electronic unit with the bones behind the ears to deliver customized electronic stimuli to the human balance system.

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Real Time Reconstruction: A 3-D surgical cutting guide for head and neck cancers

Audience Choice Bradshaw Prize Winner

Dr. Eitan Prisman has designed an innovative, low-cost 3-D surgical cutting guide called Real Time Reconstruction for head and neck cancers. A mathematical algorithm is used to create a patient-specific reconstruction plan. This will lead to more accurate reconstructions and decreased surgical time.

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Surgical Mitral Valve Repair. Percutaneously

Judges Choice Award Winner

Mitral regurgitation (MR) is the most common heart valve disease in the Western world, and often requires open heart surgery. Dr. Peter Skarsgard has invented a medical device that allow the mitral valve to be repaired through the leg, reducing risk, and resulting in shorter hospital stays and recovery times.

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Lifetime Achievement in Health Innovation Award

The Lifetime Achievement in Health Innovation Award, presented by VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, has been created to recognize the exceptional capabilities, achievements and leadership of an individual from the medical device, biotech, diagnostics and/or health care industries. The winner will be selected by the Innovators’ Challenge Advisory Committee following review of all nominations.

Past Award recipients include Dr. Donald Ricci (2018) and Dr. Dianne Miller (2019)

Submit a nomination for the 2021 Lifetime Achievement in Health Innovation Award


Innovators’ Challenge Advisory Committee

The Innovators’ Challenge Advisory Committee is a collection of individuals who bring a set of unique knowledge and skills from the health and innovation sectors. Learn more

Paul Geyer (Chair)

CEO of Discovery Parks and Nimbus Synergies, a unique Health Technology Program under the Discovery Parks umbrella

Andrew Booth

Chief Commercial Officer, STEMCELL Technologies

Jerel Davis

Managing Director, Versant Ventures

Dr. Antony Hodgson

Co-Director, ICICS, UBC; Director, HATCH Incubator, VCHRI; Director, Surgical Technologies Lab, VCHRI

Gordon McCauley

President & CEO, CDRD

Maria Pacella

Senior VP, Private Equity, PenderFund Capital Management

Dr. Don Ricci

Inaugural Lifetime Achievement in Health Innovation Award Winner

Innovators’ Challenge Accelerator Panel

The Innovators’ Challenge Accelerator Panel is made up of four prominent members of the health care and technology industries. They will evaluate each project presented based on how the presenters can demonstrate the potential to improve patient care, bring forth savings to the health care system, their commercialization potential, and if it has significant advantages to existing or potential competitors. Learn more

Norma Biln

“The Entrepreneur”

Colin Harris

“Operator of Companies”

Daniel Hetu

“The Investor”

Nejeed Kassam

“Lawyer Turned Politician”

2019 Sponsors

  • KPMG
  • LifeSciences BC
  • Siemens Healthineers
  • Gilead Sciences Canada, Inc.