Edmonton aims to
become a health city
Attracting businesses with innovation, world-class schools,
disruptive ideas and ‘a humble attitude’
WRITTEN BY DEBBY WALDMANILLUSTRATED BY JANICE KUN
Since becoming business partners sevenyears ago, Edmontonians ChandraDevam and Scott Edgar have spent alot of time in Silicon Valley, developinghigh-tech ventures and a professionalnetwork.
To build their new company, ArisMD, they’re staying home. The Aristechnology gives doctors a virtual map ofthe inside of a patient’s body. Everyone’sorgans are located in a slightly differentplace, and having a map can helpprevent surgical accidents.
“Edmonton has an environment that
fosters innovation with world-class
schools, disruptive ideas and a humble
attitude that makes us think outside the
box,” Devam says. “It has everything
it needs to be a really big player in the
That’s the kind of endorsement
Mayor Don Iveson aimed for when he
announced Edmonton’s Health City
initiative in April 2016. Health City
encourages local innovators in the
healthcare sector to stay where they are
to develop their businesses and promotes
the city as a destination where health-
related companies can flourish.
Iveson says the project could shift thecity’s economy.
“For a long time we’ve been a city
and a province that relied on the oil and
gas sector, and every time we’ve been
through the boom and bust we’ve said,
‘We’re going to do things differently,’ ”
says Karen Wichuk, Health City’s
executive lead. “This time we are. This
is about building businesses that benefit
not just Edmonton but the region and the
province. In my mind, if we do it right,
Edmonton has strengths no other
North American city can match, says
Wichuk. One of the biggest, she says,
is that it is administrative home to
Alberta Health Services (AHS), which
serves more than 4. 5 million people
at every stage of their lives. AHS has
more than 650 facilities throughout
Alberta, including hospitals, clinics and
continuing care centres.
To take a product from development“across the finish line and into clinicalpractice” is a complex process, says JasonPincock, Health City’s vice presidentand the CEO of DynaLIFE dagnosticlab services. It involves many people atmany levels of the healthcare system andgovernment, he says.
Because AHS is such a large-scalehealth provider, Pincock says, “We