CCS and MaRS Announce Winners of Innovating for Everyone: The Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Challenge
TORONTO, May 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ - MaRS Discovery District and the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) are excited to announce the winners of Innovating for Everyone: The Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Challenge. This unique competition called upon healthcare innovators, researchers, and organizations to develop novel strategies for the early detection of colorectal cancer in underserved communities, ultimately aiming to save lives.
After an extensive evaluation process, the panel of expert judges has selected two outstanding non-profit organizations that have demonstrated exceptional potential in reimagining colorectal cancer detection. Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre (NFAMC) and Flemingdon Health Centre (FHC) will receive $100,000 and $50,000 respectively in funding to support the further development and implementation of their innovative and collaborative strategies.
The NFAMC solution focuses on increasing health literacy, raising awareness about colon-friendly healthy diets, and enhancing accessibility to colorectal cancer screening and primary care. With the grand prize funds, the organization estimates it will educate 2,400 people in one year, resulting in a 10 percent increase in the number of people who will undergo testing that can potentially detect colorectal cancer.
As a community organization dedicated to assisting newcomers, low-income, and marginalized communities in the Niagara/St. Catharines area, its unique approach involves hosting Multicultural Community Kitchen Events, where community members come together to cook, eat and learn about colon cancer prevention and screening through food education and healthy recipes. To deliver this vital information, the Centre has enlisted the help of more than 50 internationally trained medical professionals who previously assisted in educating communities about COVID-19 vaccinations.
FHC is a community-based nonprofit organization that offers free health services to the Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park neighbourhoods in Toronto, primarily serving newcomer and low-income populations. Its solution aims to bridge the gaps that disproportionately impact equity-deserving communities. By partnering with other health and community-based organizations, it plans to expand an existing community health ambassador program to educate target populations about colorectal cancer. This approach also incorporates bot technology to identify eligible clients and send screening reminders to those with a primary care physician.
"Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death but when detected early – at stage 1 – survival rates jump to over 90 percent," explains Andrea Seale, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society. "Through this Innovation Challenge, we have an incredible opportunity to increase colorectal cancer screening participation rates for those that are underserved by the cancer system, so that more people have every opportunity to live long, healthy lives."
"We have the technological capabilities for the early detection of colorectal cancer, but many marginalized communities are hindered by lack of access," said Krista Jones, Chief Delivery Officer, MaRS Discovery District. "These winning solutions met the goal of this Innovation Challenge to find ways to break down these barriers and have the potential to save lives and transform the way we approach early detection."
For more information about the Innovating for Everyone: Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Challenge and the winning solutions, please visit: https://challenges.marsdd.com/challenge/innovating-for-everyone-colorectal-cancer-early-detection-challenge/.
The Canadian Cancer Society works tirelessly to save and improve lives. We fund the brightest minds in cancer research. We provide a compassionate support system for all those affected by cancer, across Canada and for all types of cancer. As the voice for people who care about cancer, we work with governments to shape a healthier society. No other organization does all that we do to make lives better today and transform the future of cancer forever.
The mission of MaRS is to help innovators create a better world. Our 2025 vision is to be the engine for Canada to lead in the innovation economy. We do this by accelerating the growth of Canadian science and technology-based companies into global businesses. We also work with philanthropic, government and corporate partners to accelerate the adoption of innovation across business and society. MaRS convenes over 2,000 meetings and events annually, leveraging our state-of-the-art collaboration center and our digital platform.
MaRS is a national leader of Innovation Challenges. Aiming to create a better world, MaRS Innovation Challenges are an awards-based open competition, which mobilizes diverse groups and individuals, regardless of sector or background, to provide solutions that can address some of our world's toughest problems.
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