The Health Leadership Academy in partnership with the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL) hosted the inaugural McMaster Interdisciplinary Health Idea Competition (MIHIC) in 2017. We are enthusiastic about identifying the next big idea in healthcare and are looking for students from a variety of programs who have compelling ideas. Students will have to come together in interdisciplinary teams to pitch the ideas they think will drive the future of health and healthcare in Canada.

Why Participate?

The competition is a collaborative effort to create dialogue, stimulate ideas and ultimately identify opportunities that will better the health industry. As a MIHIC competitor, you will:

2017 Health Idea Competition Winner


Akiv Jhirad & Mandakini Jain: $5,000 Cash Prize Winners

Near-Infrared Cerebral Scanner (NICS) is designed to be a handheld wand or probe that can be placed on the scalp of a patient to noninvasively determine the presence of a hematoma. A pushbutton on the side of the device can be held to turn the device on, while releasing the button will turn the device off, ensuring minimal energy consumption and maximal safety. NICS will be the only point-of-care solution in the Canadian market that can be integrated into existing healthcare assessments (Canadian CT head rules, etc.) to increase physician confidence in the decision to administer a head CT on a patient. The use of NICS can improve hospital workflow and resource utilization by preventing use of head CT scans for patients that would have had negative CT results.




Post-secondary students are experiencing unprecedented rates of stress, anxiety, and depression. Recognizing the link between lifestyle factors (sleep, nutrition, exercise, etc.) and student mental health, we have developed L i F E S C A P E. This app allows for tracking of customizable lifestyle factors, so that users can track the aspects of their lives that are meaningful to them.

Delta Novus

As part of the McMaster Interdisciplinary Health Idea Competition, Delta Novus presents a method for transporting diagnostic samples effectively to and from rural communities to improve accessibility. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) powered by Watson, we envision diagnostic samples being collected and transported from rural areas to the nearest healthcare laboratory. UAV medical transportation will overcome healthcare barriers regarding accessibility and availability by providing an efficient and timely manner of diagnosis.

Industry Link

With less than 1% of upcoming graduate students predicted to secure full-time, tenured faculty positions in academia (The Royal Society, 2010), it is essential to provide more effective first-hand opportunities to gain exposure, experience, and connections in industry. To achieve this, we created Industry Link Consulting — a graduate-student-led scientific consulting service.

To learn more, visit their website at: http://www.macindustrylink.com


“The MIHIC was an exceptional experience for students to learn more about the intersection between healthcare and entrepreneurship. The competition provided me with a medium for which to express my ideas for innovation while receiving tangible feedback from judges. Currently, I am Co-Founder and CEO of a non-profit healthcare startup called Hamilton InTouch. This organization aims to deliver community-based primary health care to residents in Hamilton. Through the creation of student placements for McMaster Social Work and Nursing paired with our organization and Hamilton’s Neighbourhood Action Strategy, we hope to make healthcare more accessible and manageable for Hamilton residents by creating individualized care plans and getting residents more in touch with the resources in their neighbourhoods and communities. In this way, we can improve the existing impact of resources in the city while also streamlining primary care practices in a resident’s home. The MIHIC staff and judges have been exceptional in the process of building our startup. Their team gave us ways in which we could improve our approach while also connecting us with relevant stakeholders and they have been an instrumental part of our development stage. They continue to provide us with support and we look forward to working with them in the future. Our organization is currently continuing discussions with city organizations and McMaster faculty to discuss the structure and implementation of this project. We are constantly looking for feedback and advice and would love for others to join our team. Our future goals are to have a rewarding pilot year by giving students tangible work experience, making residents self-sufficient in navigating the healthcare system, providing care plans for residents to better manage their health, and performing research on the potential health and financial outcomes of this project in Hamilton.”
– Hanu Chaudhari, Hamilton InTouch
MIHIC 2017

“MIHIC was an amazing experience. My team and I entered with a seed of an idea, and we left with a growing entrepreneurial venture. Our team was fairly diverse; however, none of us had a business background. Through MIHIC, we were able to learn important entrepreneurial skills, such as how to validate problem-solution fit, how to enter and gain traction in a specific market, and how to give an effective pitch. Since MIHIC, we were accepted into the summer startup accelerator program at The Forge. By the end of the summer, we hope to have a minimum viable product of our health tracking app that we can test with target users. It’s been a very exciting journey, and we owe much of our success to MIHIC.”
– Maxwell Tran, LiFESCAPE
MIHIC 2017

“First and foremost, being a part of MIHIC allowed me to set goals for myself with regards to my startup. When being on the business development side of a startup while also being in a Masters program, it’s not always easy to find the time to accomplish my goals, especially since the primary research and coursework can frequently overwhelm me. Being a part of this competition pushed me to set deliverables for myself to progress through each stage of the competition; these included: performing market research, establishing a clinical advisory board of experts, and establishing a path to market from the prototype development phase. These factors not only allowed me to create an effective presentation, but also gave me more insight into what I needed to do to push my startup forward and make it successful as a medical device company. On the technical side, my co-founder is developing the functional prototype associated with my startup as part of her Masters program. On the business side, I have been working closely with The Forge at McMaster to attend workshops in Hamilton and Toronto, which enables me to be an adept CEO capable of developing the actual business. In the near future, alongside the device development we are planning on assigning a Board of Advisors to expedite obtaining additional funding and reaching the market. We will also be looking to enter additional seed funding competitions as they come up, apply to larger government grants when we have accumulated the funds to match them, and apply for Venture Capital funding with our developed prototype, which should put us in a good position to continue developing our startup on our own after we have completed our Masters programs.”
– Akiv Jhirad, ImagineMED
MIHIC 2017


Current students in graduate and undergraduate programs are eligible to compete. Teams must have representatives from at least two distinct academic programs, where specializations and streams within a program do not count as distinct programs. Teams are not limited in size however as teams grow, new members must be identified to MIHIC administrators prior to Stage 2 deadlines.


Stage #1: Written Application
Stage #2: Video Submission
Stage #3: Pitch Presentation

Applications for a new design competition will become available here on the HLA website.


The 2017 MIHIC held its kick-off event on January 30th, 2017. Our panelists shared their views on the potential gaps in healthcare. View pieces of the panelist discussion by clicking the images below:

Dr. Del Harnish
Ph.D., MSc

3M National Fellow; Professor, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine; Associate Dean, Undergraduate Health Sciences Education,

Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University

Mr. Bryan Herechuk

Senior Project Manager,

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Dr. Ted Scott

Chief Innovation Officer and Director of Strategy,

Hamilton Health Sciences

Dr. David Higgins


St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Mrs. Dilys Haughton

Vice President, Patient Care & Chief Professional Practice, Patient Services,

Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant CCAC

Mr. Paul Johnson

Director, LRT Project Coordination,

City of Hamilton

More Information

Please review a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the MIHIC.

If your questions are not addressed here, please contact: hlainfo@mcmaster.ca

Find Team Members & Share Ideas

McMaster students are invited to join our Facebook page where you can connect with other students, share ideas and form your teams.