SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

August 26, 2016 13:15 ET

Teams from across the globe in Calgary for innovative health-care competition

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - August 26, 2016) - Fourteen inspiring innovators and start-up entrepreneurs from across the globe will be preparing for the biggest "pitch" of their careers in hopes of winning a portion of $48,000 in cash prizes at this year's Global Healthcare Innovation Academy (GHIA 2016). This year's event, which is open to the public, is being hosted by the University of Calgary and being held at the TELUS Spark Science Centre on August 25 and 26. Winners will be announced on August 26.

From an app to help physicians and nurses with life-saving drug preparation, or a mobile imaging system for eye disease detection and monitoring, to a 'life vest' to help babies breathe; participants in this fast-paced scientific and business-pitch competition will be working to convince a panel of experts that their health-care ideas, prototypes, apps, programs, and innovations deserve the top prize spots. The goal is to allow entrepreneurs, researchers and healthcare professionals at any level to identify new and creative ways to stimulate change in health care and health systems delivery.

"Each of these teams are working to create profound changes to health and health care around the world," says Dr. John Conly, professor of Medicine at the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine and Medical Director for the university's O'Brien Institute for Public Health's Ward of the 21st Century Program. "GHIA provides a launch pad for these incredible innovators to access and connect with expertise in both health care and business, in the hopes of providing better care or services within their respective communities."

Initially developed by leading health-care organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, the Global Healthcare Innovation Academy has grown into an international collaboration between Switzerland, Canada and Hong Kong.

"GHIA fosters local and international partnerships with the power to spark an exciting new generation of healthcare innovation," says Dr. John Reynolds, acting Vice-President (Research) at the University of Calgary. "We look forward to the advancements that will emerge from the teams' hard work and commitment to the future of health and healthcare."

A panel of judges will be tasked with selecting the top three winning ideas based on criteria such as market opportunity and competitive advantage, problem and solution fit, and team and leadership. The judges come from a diverse portfolio of international expertise ranging from research and innovation agencies, to respected entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

The winner of the Grand Prize -- the Ward of the 21st Century (Unit 36) Award of Excellence -- will receive $25,000. Second and third prize winners will receive $15,000 and $8,000 respectively, along with business consulting from various companies.

About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is making tremendous progress on its journey to become one of Canada's top five research universities, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.'

For more information, visit ucalgary.ca. Stay up to date with University of Calgary news headlines on Twitter @UCalgary. For details on faculties and how to reach experts go to our media centre at ucalgary.ca/news/media.

About the Cumming School of Medicine
The University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine is a leader in health research, with an international reputation for excellence and innovation in health care research and education. On June 17, 2014, the University Of Calgary Faculty Of Medicine was formally named the Cumming School of Medicine in recognition of Geoffrey Cumming's generous gift to the university.

For more information, visit cumming.ucalgary.ca/ or follow us on Twitter @UCalgaryMed.

About GHIA
Founded in 2013, GHIA is a global partnership currently consisting of member institutions in Canada (University of Calgary's W21C and St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto), the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland. GHIA's mission is to catalyze, nurture, promote, and reward innovations that have cultural, scientific, technological, and/or social impact. To achieve this mission, GHIA hosts business innovation competitions that bring together innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and industry. www.ghiaevent.com

About W21C, O'Brien Institute for Public Health, University of Calgary
The W21C Program is a research and innovation initiative based in the University of Calgary's O'Brien Institute for Public Health, and the Calgary zone of Alberta Health Services. W21C is a beta test site for new technologies, prototypical hospital design, novel approaches to health care delivery, and human factors research. The primary aim of W21C is to Make Care Better -- through research focused on improving patient safety and quality of care in our health systems. www.w21c.org

About the O'Brien Institute for Public Health
With more than 400 members, the University of Calgary's O'Brien Institute for Public Health is a virtual, interdisciplinary network integrating research groups, academics, health professionals, community leaders, and policy makers across the health continuum to catalyze excellence in population health and health services research. Together, O'Brien Institute members strive to produce new knowledge and evidence to inform, and help shape, public health agencies and health systems for the benefit of local, national and global communities -- achieving the institute's vision of Better Health and Health Care. www.obrieniph.ucalgary.ca.

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