Health Canada

Drug Checking Technology Challenge

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Jury

Steve Cody

Steve Cody, Chair

Steve is an Ottawa entrepreneur, currently working as the CEO and Founder of Ruckify. Steve Cody is a father of five children, husband to a terrific wife, and papa to two very cool grandkids. Steve and his wife lost their son Nicholas to drugs in 2013. After seeing Sharon and Tony House's passion and commitment to help others through Kaleidoscope of Hope*, Steve knew that he wanted to be a part of this journey helping others in his community. He is extremely touched that he can have a direct impact on the mental health, drug awareness, and education of children.

Alexandra de Kiewit

Alexandra de Kiewit

Alexandra de Kiewit is an advocate for community work since 2010 and works with people who use drugs and sex workers. She cofounded the Canadian Association of Drug Users (CAPUD). Alexandra is also an instructor at the Institute for the Development of Positive Leadership (IDLP) in Quebec and is a member of CATIE’s Board of Directors.

Rob Boyd

Rob Boyd

Rob Boyd has been working in the field of mental health, substance use disorder and homelessness in Ottawa for nearly 30 years. He started at the Salvation Army Youth shelter in 1990, then moved on the YMCA/YWCA to manage their housing programs before becoming the Oasis Program Director at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre in 2004. Originally a walk in medical clinic with a drop in and limited outreach capacity, Rob and the team at Sandy Hill CHC have expanded services to respond to the changing needs of people who use drugs in Ottawa.

Rick Lees

Rick Lees

Rick Lees is the Executive Director of Main Street Project. With over 25 years of community health experience, Rick is an advocate for marginalized populations through his various positions as Director of Organizational Development with Sherbourne Health Centre; Director of Programs and Services with the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation (TPWA) and Director of Corporate Services with Street Health, Toronto.

Stéphanie Lessard

Stéphanie Lessard

Stéphanie Lessard is a laboratory specialist for the Regulatory Operations and Enforcement Branch of Health Canada since 2018. She is part of the Drug Analysis Service’s Research and Science Development Team. Prior to this, Stéphanie worked as a medicinal chemist in the pharmaceutical industry for 8 years. She obtained her M.Sc. degree in organic chemistry at the University of Alberta in 2009. After her career debut in drug discovery, she is now involved in projects related to the opioid crisis and drug abuse, as well as to innovative approaches for drug analysis.

Dr. Roman Szumski

Dr. Roman Szumski

Dr. Roman Szumski is Vice-President of Life Sciences at the National Research Council since July 2005. A medical doctor and pathologist by training, Dr. Szumski is recognized as a visionary leader and an innovative manager with unique experience in building strategic public-private sector partnerships in the life sciences sector. He was the founding CEO of Calgary Laboratory Services, and more Vice-President (Science & Technology) of MDS Inc.

Dr. Mark Lysyshyn

Dr. Mark Lysyshyn

Dr. Mark Lysyshyn works for Vancouver Coastal Health as a Medical Health Officer and the medical lead for the health authority’s harm reduction programs. He is co-leading the health authority response to the overdose emergency and has been investigating drug checking as a potential response to the crisis. He is a specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine and Internal Medicine and has worked as an Addiction Medicine physician at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health.

Shahab Shahnazari

Dr. Shahab Shahnazari

Dr. Shahab Shahnazari leads MaRS' Innovation Challenges practice which works with governments, agencies, foundations and private sector organizations to engage the global community in the identification and testing of novel concepts, methodologies and products that can address organizational innovation gaps and needs. He holds a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from McMaster University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto.

Malcolm Birbeck

Malcolm Birbeck

Malcolm Birbeck is a representative of the community for which this challenge is aimed to help. His lived experience has led him to work in many roles within the harm reduction community. He has worked in community health centers, with research projects for Ottawa University (I-Track), and he is an active advocate for harm reduction services and approaches. Malcolm is currently employed as a Community Worker at the Somerset West Community Health Centre, where he works on the front lines of the deadly toxic drug supply epidemic. His experience has led him to have a passion for finding innovative ways to help his community out and, hopefully, decreasing the amount of unnecessary deaths. Previously, Malcolm worked in the Aerospace and Automotive industries as a certified quality Technician/Auditor, certified by ASQ with a Metrology/Statistical background for 25 years. He also enjoys working on various fine wood projects in his free time.

Challenge details

Key Dates

  • Challenge Launch: October 2nd, 2018
  • Application Deadline: February 1st,  2019
  • First Selection Phase - Semi-Finalists Announced: April 2019
  • Incubation Period: April to September 2019
  • Second Selection Phase - Finalists Announced: December 2019
  • Pilot-Phase: January to August 2020
  • Grand Prize Announced: October 2020

Important resources