CABHI awards $1.4 million to point-of-care workers to support early-stage aging and brain health innovations

2017 Spark Program Recipients

Groundbreaking.  Inspiring.  Health Innovations.

In September 2016, the Centre for Aging & Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) called on point-of-care workers to think outside the box and bring their BIG IDEAS forward when it came to improving health care solutions for older adults.

We asked for ideas that could improve the brain health or quality of life for older adults so that they can maintain their cognitive, emotional and physical well-being for longer. The response was phenomenal.  We were inundated with proposals from point-of-care workers, including nurses, physicians, clinicians and others, in the health and long-term care sector.

On Friday, February 3rd, we announced the thirty-one point-of-care workers who have been granted funding from CABHI’s Spark Program. Each will receive up to $50,000 in funding to scale up their ideas into proof-of-concept or prototypes. In total, CABHI will invest more than $1.4 million in new innovations through this round of the Spark Program. We are excited to see these innovations in action!

Photo of Minister of Health, Minister of Research, Innovation & Science, with Baycrest CEO and other representatives

Photo from L-R (Jennifer Donovan, Spark Recipient – York Care Centre, Marco Mendicino, MP Eglinton-Lawrence, Dr. William E. Reichman, President & CEO of Baycrest, the Hon. Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation & Science, the Hon. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, Monte Kwinter, MPP for York Centre, Ron Riesenbach, Managing Director of CC-ABHI and CTO of Baycrest).

The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health for the Government of Canada, made the official announcement of the recipients at an event held at Baycrest Health Sciences. She was joined by the Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation & Science for the Government of Ontario, Marco Mendicino, Member of Parliament for Eglinton-Lawrence, Monte Kwinter, Member of Provincial Parliament for York-Centre and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and International Trade, and Toronto City Councillor Josh Colle, Ward 15 Eglinton – Lawrence.

Examples of innovations that will be funded by the Spark Program include the use of virtual reality to calm persons with dementia as well as mindfulness interventions for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Other funded projects include further development of an app that helps caregivers track and manage challenging behaviours associated with dementia, and the development of a floor lighting system designed to reduce falls in long-term care settings. Overall, the projects will lend themselves to addressing cognitive decline in older adults, with a focus on keeping older adults at home, reducing emergency department visits, reducing falls, and improving cognitive fitness.

Jennifer Donovan, Clinical Research Coordinator and Registered Nurse at York Care Centre in New Brunswick and one of the recipients of the 2017 Spark Program spoke about how the funding will help to improve the lives of residents in long-term care centres.

CABHI would like to thank our funders for making the Spark Program possible. Support has been provided by the Government of Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science and the Baycrest Foundation.