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Recipients of 2021 AGE-WELL Emerging Entrepreneur Award announced


Dr. Patricia Hewston is scientific curriculum lead for GERAS DANCE, a program for older adults looking to improve their mind-body health. 

Published: June 16, 2021 

MIRA's first Labarge Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Patricia Hewston, is a recipient of the AGE-WELL Emerging Entrepreneur Award. 

The AGE-WELL Emerging Entrepreneur Award supports the development of emerging entrepreneurs to create and grow an innovative startup with potential social and economic impact in Canada. The innovation must address one of AGE-WELL’s 8 Challenge Areas to shape the future of technology and aging research in Canada.

The award is designed to give a new entrepreneur the financial resources to focus on making their ideas viable and rapidly deployable in service to older adults and caregivers. This year, the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) has provided a cash top-up for both recipients, bringing the total value of the salary award to $30,000 for each awardee.

Dr. Hewston is an occupational therapist and postdoctoral fellow at the GERAS Centre for Aging Research, a Hamilton Health Sciences Centre affiliated with McMaster University. She is scientific curriculum lead for GERAS DANcing for Cognition & Exercise (DANCE), an evidence-based dance program for older adults looking to improve their mind-body health. GERAS DANCE has been validated with over 500 seniors across 12 YMCA sites in Ontario and is expanding nationally.

“I’m delighted to receive this award because it accelerates the delivery of our virtual GERAS DANCE program, which was designed with rehabilitation and geriatric medicine expertise and can improve the mind, strengthen the body and improve social connection,” says Dr. Hewston. “Having this award will help me devote time to growing the innovation, receive training from different experts, and bring the joy of dance to help seniors in our community to reconnect with exercise.” All revenues will go back into research, notes Dr. Hewston. 

“Supporting talented young entrepreneurs is one of the many ways in which AGE-WELL is driving Canada’s AgeTech sector – and delivering solutions that benefit older adults and their caregivers,” says Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Scientific Director and CEO of AGE-WELL, Canada’s Technology and Aging Network. “We congratulate this year’s outstanding recipients and look forward to supporting them through this salary award, mentorship and training, to maximize the impact of their innovations on the lives of Canadians.”

“Emerging entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the innovation space, and advancing their important work is critical to CABHI’s mission – to help older adults live better lives wherever they are,” says Dr. Allison Sekuler, Managing Director, CABHI, Sandra A. Rotman Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Vice-President of Research, Baycrest. “We’re delighted to collaborate with AGE-WELL in supporting such talented award recipients to benefit older adults, people living with dementia, and caregivers across Canada.” 

This article was first published on AGE-WELL. Read the original article.

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