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• Dec. 2, 2019

At a time when the pace of change is accelerating all around us, rapid advances in healthcare are helping more people to live longer and healthier lives than ever before.

At the same time, research shows that chronic conditions and diseases such as cancer, arthritis and diabetes are on the rise, and that many people are worried about the quality of healthcare they are able to access for themselves, and their families.

So what happens when curative technologies are not accessible and affordable for everyone?

"If people aren't confident about their health, they can't be confident about their future," said Andrea Barrack, Global Head, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group.

"At TD, we believe in supporting more equitable health outcomes for all. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geography play a large part in one’s ability to access care. For this year’s TD Ready Challenge, we wanted to work with organizations that serve and impact patients directly."

TD commits $10 million (CDN) to increase equitable health outcomes for more people

To help advance medical innovations across North America, TD has committed $10 million (CDN) to innovative healthcare organizations as part of the annual TD Ready Challenge. Now in its second year, the goal of this signature initiative (created and funded by TD) is to help reshape the future of healthcare.

"Through this year's cohort of TD Ready Challenge recipients, we're supporting programs that are designed to help combat healthcare inequalities and help remove geographic, financial and other barriers to healthcare," said Barrack.

10 solutions designed for impact

For one grant recipient, the University of Manitoba, the funding will help enable them to screen, triage, and treat more people living in rural and remote communities for chronic kidney disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, using portable point-of-care testing equipment.

"We will be able to substantially increase the number of patients we are able to serve," said Dr. Paul Komenda, Associate Professor, Max Rady College of Medicine, Research Director, Chronic Disease Innovation Centre. "Our program, Kidney Check Manitoba, currently serves 1,300 Indigenous people in four communities. With this funding, we will be able to expand the scope of our services by screening up to 3,000 individuals in six communities."

Funding for the University of Manitoba will also support technology growth, increase scale, and provide the capital needed to help improve patient outcomes.

And we're ready to see how this will come to life.

Paving the way for more medical advancements

Each of the 10 chosen recipients will receive $1 million (CDN) in funding to expand their solutions for emerging problems, such as early detection of cancer in hereditary breast and ovarian patients, access to low-to-no cost sexual health services, and improving the mental health and well-being of teenagers through a unique and innovative program designed to help reduce anxiety and self-destructive behaviours.

This year, Challenge submissions increased by 30% over last year when the Challenge was first launched and included applications from universities, not-for-profits, medical researchers and healthcare experts. "We're thrilled at the level of interest and the caliber of submissions for this year's Challenge," shared Barrack. Out of more than 300 submissions, 10 recipients were awarded grants for providing solutions that had the potential to make a lasting impact on communities that were at the greatest risk of healthcare inequalities.

Learn more about the 2019 grant recipients and their bold new initiatives that aim to improve equitable health outcomes below:

Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation
MIPOGG - eHealth on the Front Line of Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment in Young People
Quebec, Canada
An eHealth application intended to help clinicians rapidly identify children with cancer who are at a higher likelihood of having cancer predisposition syndromes (CPS). The app contains over 140 decisional algorithms that use clinical, family history, and tumor features to generate a recommendation for genetic referral and testing.

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Early Detection of Cancer in Hereditary Breast, Ovarian Cancer patients and Lynch Syndrome
Ontario, Canada
A blood test designed to predict cancer development in carriers of cancer-predisposing genes using circulating DNA to improve early cancer detection.

The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation
Princess Margaret Virtual Testis Cancer Clinic
Ontario, Canada
A model for future virtual care in Canada, the project aims to develop a large-scale expansion to the organization's existing virtual testicular cancer clinic pilot program, with additional tools such as a mobile app, personalized educational resources, secure messaging, and an upgraded user interface to improve accessibility.

University of Manitoba
Kidney Check Manitoba
Manitoba, Canada
A new multi-provincial project to screen, triage, and treat Indigenous people living in rural and remote communities for chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes and high blood pressure, using portable point-of-care testing equipment.

University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI)
A Non-Invasive Acoustic Diagnostic Test for the Early Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
Ontario, Canada
Improving the early identification of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) with a new, non-invasive, five-minute test that does not require the presence of a physician through sophisticated signal processing and the application of artificial intelligence algorithms.

University of Victoria
3D Printed Prosthetics and Orthotics for Amputees and Children in North America
British Columbia, Canada
By utilizing advanced yet cost-effective technology (3D printing, 3D scanning, and web-based data-transfer/communications), the project aims to enable prosthetic/orthotic fabrication directly within underserved or remote communities.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Precision Cancer Treatment Using Next-Generation Organoid Technology
New York, United States
Cancer organoids are a breakthrough technology platform developed at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory that reproduce a patient’s tumour and recapitulate tumour sensitivities to chemotherapy and other drugs. The facility will use the funding to partner with institutions serving underserved populations to ensure widespread access to advanced cancer testing to directly improve outcomes of all cancer patients.

Baystate Health Foundation/Baystate Medical Center
The TD Bank Baystate Health Bus
Massachusetts, United States
A mobile medical unit offering at-home health screenings, referrals and education to at-risk individuals with a low-to-moderate income, with the addition of better training of young doctors to serve urban and rural populations.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Growing Resilience in Teens (GRIT)
Pennsylvania, United States
A proactive trauma screening and referral intervention for buffering children against traumatic events to combat the mental health crisis.

Fund for Public Health in New York City
Public Health Laboratory (PHL)
Quickie Lab at the Fort Greene Sexual Health Clinic

New York, United States
Delivering Sexual Health Clinics (SHC) that provide low-to-no cost services and rapid testing to patients without seeing a clinical provider, including results returned in four hours or less through a user-friendly patient portal.

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