On April. 30th 2015, I had the privilege of being part of the MEMOTEXT delegation to AppsForHealth in Hamilton. AppsForHealth was hosted by Hamilton’s Mohawk College, and is one of the largest digital health conferences in Ontario. Our Founder and President Amos Adler was honoured with a speaking invitation.
The event kicked off with a brief introduction from Mohawk College President Ron McKerlie. It was followed by a keynote address by Dr. Ann Cavoukian; the former Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, and current Executive Director of Ryerson University’s Privacy and Big Data Institute. Dr. Cavoukian’s lecture was on how health app developers must have privacy as an integral part of the design process, not as afterthought. In many respects it echoed the lecture given by Dr. Tiik at MaRS. The take away was that to be successful in digital health be it a mHealth app developer or government run system, is that informational self-determination is key.
The rest of the conference was divided into four streams: Technology, Health and Education, Entrepreneurship, and Tech Demo. When the MEMOTEXT Team split up to see different speakers I opted for the Technology stream. The first speakers were Adam Cole the CTO of Newtopia and Ahmad Zbib who manages digital health for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. They made it clear that contrary to popular belief, large organizations like the Heart and Stroke Foundation can stay agile despite their size and entrenched systems. At its core both big and small businesses have to put their customers first, and design the products they deliver around them. After lunch, Graeme Moffat of InteraXon demonstrated their impressive MUSE brain-sensing technology. With an emphasis on meditation, MUSE assists with focused attention training and is used by academics to study mental health.
But then it was back to the Entrepreneur Stream to see our Founder and President as part of a panel on how to be a successful start-up. Most blog readers are more than familiar with Amos’s entrepreneurial advice, and he focused on the classics: Success isn’t linear, and there’s lots of pain involved, but if you keep trying and learning from your mistakes you can persevere. The other panelists had good advice as well! Jessica Fan, a cofounder of Pixelbot shared how what she learned from her past experiences in from working in several start-ups in Canada, China, and California. While Tahir Janmohamed shared his personal story of how watching his uncle deal with choric pain inspired him to start ManagingLife.
All in all it was a great conference, and we’re honored that AppsForHealth approached Amos to be a speaker. And as a former Hamilton resident it was inspiring to see how far the city has come through embracing the health and technology industries over the past 5 years.
With an MSc in the Theory and History of International Relations from the London School of Economics, Noah brings several years of communications experience to MEMOTEXT. Prior to joining, he worked for the Government of Ontario, several small businesses, and most recently on the winning campaign in the 2014 Toronto mayoral election. As someone who loves communicating good ideas to help make the world a better place, Noah is thrilled to be a part of the MEMOTEXT team.