Supporting ingenuity in Canadian medicine: Recipients of this year’s Joule Innovation grants announced


Physicians, residents and medical students receive a total of $200,000 in funding to help them forge a way to better health care in Canada and beyond

Nov. 1, 2018 – Joule, a Canadian Medical Association (CMA) subsidiary, today announced the recipients for its annual Innovation grants. The program, now in its third year, has previously provided grants to projects that have helped spark change in surgical practices, medical referrals, mental health and more. This year marks the highest value Innovation grants to date: recipients will share $200,000 in flexible funding to develop or expand a project that affects how physicians work and the care their patients receive.

The 2018 Joule Innovation grant recipients are as follows:

Later-stage innovations

Dr. Brian Courtney is a staff interventional cardiologist, a clinician scientist and the CEO of Conavi Medical, a company that develops image guidance technologies used in minimally invasive procedures. The $80,000 grant will help to expand his project, which leads to faster, safer and more cost-effective procedures.

Dr. Alexandra T. Greenhill, the CEO and chief medical officer of Careteam Technologies, is addressing care fragmentation with a digital platform enhanced by artificial intelligence that connects patients, families and their team of health professionals. The $25,000 Innovation grant will help fund a platform that aims to improve system navigation, outcomes and satisfaction for patients, while reducing system costs.

Early-stage innovations

Dr. Don Burke, a lead intensivist from British Columbia, will receive a $25,000 grant to expand the Critical Outreach & Diagnostic Intervention (CODI) project. CODI supports rural physicians by allowing them to connect to an intensivist via audio and video with the click of a button. This 24/7 on-demand support means improved physician confidence and skills, better patient outcomes and fewer unnecessary hospital transfers.

Dr. David Benrimoh, a psychiatry resident and the CEO of Aifred Health, will use his $25,000 grant to further develop a clinical decision aid for physicians. Using artificial intelligence, Aifred Health will help physicians to select the optimal depression treatment for each individual patient. By making treatment selection easier, this decision aid will help to reduce wait times, improve patient flow and reduce physician burnout.

Social innovation

Dr. Nada Gawad, a resident physician and pioneer for the My On Call (MOC) Pager App, aims to reduce clinical errors to improve patient safety. The $25,000 grant will help her launch the application, which works in tandem with the user’s medical training to improve safe clinical decision-making. The MOC Pager App helps users to learn and integrate additional skills like prioritization, time management and efficiency, with no risk to real patients.

Resident innovations

Dr. Alex Bilbily, a resident and the CEO of 16 Bit, plans to use his $5,000 grant to expand a tool that uses artificial intelligence to help users triage and screen mammograms with more efficiency than the status quo. Should a mammogram be deemed normal or benign by the system, a radiologist’s interpretation may no longer be needed. This would provide a means of screening cancer or non-cancer that is economically feasible.

Dr. Latif Murji, a resident at St. Michael’s Hospital, founded Stand Up for Health (SU4H) as an immersive learning experience to help users understand and appreciate the social determinants of health though experiential learning. The $5,000 grant will transform how people learn to ensure physicians and medical trainees have a deep comprehension of the impact that social factors can have on health and well-being.

Student innovations

Eric J. Zhao, a medical student at the University of British Columbia, will use his $5,000 grant to help fund Lumina, an improved toolkit for central line access. The toolkit has modified and combined existing tools to make them more efficient and ergonomic, giving physicians more control in emergency department scenarios. Ultimately, this will help them perform at their peak, so they can provide excellence in patient care.

Charles Choi, a medical student at the University of British Columbia, aims to improve care in emergency waiting rooms with his tool, VitalEyes. The $5,000 grant will help further develop the tool, which uses a non-contact method to measure the vital signs of multiple patients waiting in emergency departments. If vital signs appear to be outside the normal range, VitalEyes will alert medical staff so patients can be rapidly assessed and, if necessary, treated.

“Impactful change in medicine is accelerated through the innovative ideas of our physicians,” explains Joule CEO Lindee David. “It’s time we move past the status quo. We believe in supporting these inventive ideas that help patients ― they draw on the experience of frontline professionals and represent a direct investment in better care for all Canadians.”

For more information on the Joule Innovation grant program and this year’s recipients, please visit

Joule is the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA’s) newest subsidiary, designed to assist physicians in the pursuit of clinical excellence. Joule does this explicitly through the support of physician-led innovation and by inspiring physician adoption of knowledge products and innovative technologies and services. Our purpose is to achieve health system changes through physician adoption and leadership of impactful digital solutions. Our mission is to help physicians be at their best.

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