“Nobody knew that she was actually surviving with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,” says Menon. “It came as such a surprise to our family. I was 16 at the time, and I was just so devastated. Thinking about this made me want to go into biomedical engineering.”
But right after she was accepted into UBC’s school of biomedical engineering, Menon’s mother got diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Menon recalls her mother struggling to find an appropriate clinician in Vancouver, and claims that taking care of relatives with chronic diseases pushed her to do something about how treatment was delivered to patients.
At the end of her first year, Menon and classmate Madhini Vigneswaran decided to launch a nonprofit called MEDIC Foundation. Since 2020, the Vancouver-based organization has been trying to make treatment for people diagnosed with chronic conditions more accessible and convenient, steadily growing from three to 25 student members over two years.
With local support from UBC and nonprofit organization Open Source Medical Supplies, MEDIC partners with research labs and companies to target four areas close to its founders’ hearts: anxiety and depression, Parkinson’s, cancer and diabetes.
So far, MEDIC has won accolades (including first place at last year’s OSMS-Spark contest) for its anxiety/depression wristband, prototyped for elderly folk stuck indoors during COVID-19.
The organization is currently working on a project to make low-cost insulin pumps for diabetes more accessible. “We're going to focus on the rural communities in Sri Lanka,” Vigneswaran says of the foundation’s partnerships with international hospitals and nonprofits. “We're hoping to develop a local prototype . . . and during the final stage, we are planning to go there and test it out.”
“People here think that they can change the world just by calling someone and saying that they have an idea and trying to collaborate that way. But we have a personal connection,” Menon adds. “That’s why we believe we can make a real difference, because of this connection.”
For the full story, visit: https://www.bcbusiness.ca/UBC-based-nonprofit-M...