Inspiring young minds

News Archive
Launched in 2011, Toronto Rehab’s iDAPT Young Innovators Program provides tools and knowledge to engage our next generation of problem-solvers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) studies and offers them a springboard to success.

Through partnering with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and other Ontario schools and youth groups, the iDAPT Young Innovators Program (iYI) reveals the positive, tangible impact that young participants can have on society. iYI links iDAPT research to the Ontario school curricula through interactive tours, collaboration with researchers, and guided activities. This program offers a no-charge, inclusive educational experience to schools and helps fill a gap in the Ministry of Education funding of STEM programs.

iDAPT Young Innovators Program activities are based on the research processes at Toronto Rehab and educate students on how to develop a creative concept, move to design, redesign and eventually produce a product, device or process. Activities are focused on real world problems and are tailored to grade level and subject. Students are able to observe active research within a hospital setting while having access to novel technologies such as 3D printers; machine, wood, plastics and electronics workshops; motion capture technology; and other amenities.

Recently, the Program’s Global Health and Innovations Pitch event garnered media attention as forty Grade 5 and 6 students visited Toronto Rehab to present technological innovations they created to help developing countries tackle various healthcare issues.

One group developed a measles detector, similar to a smoke detector, signaling when there are measles particles in the air and how many. They wanted to tackle the problem of measles in refugee camps in Kenya, where their research showed many kids like them are dying every week from the disease.

Dr. Alshaer, Toronto Rehab Scientist and evaluator at the event, was impressed by how capable the students were able to understand complicated subjects at such a young age.

"I'm a physician and a biomedical engineer, and something like this (the measles detector) never even occurred to me," he says. "It's a great idea and I am quite positive that one day we will have something like this in the market."

The iDAPT Young Innovators Program is funded by an NSERC Promoscience grant, corporate partners and donors to the Toronto Rehab Foundation who are making an important investment in young minds. Those who, with the right inspiration and opportunities, will help future generations live happier and healthier lives.  

To support this program, please contact Arlene Manankil-Boyce at 416-597-3422 ext. 3545 or arlene.boyce@uhn.ca or to learn more about the program, please contact iYI Program Director, Dr. Jennifer Campos at jennifer.campos@uhn.ca.

In Photo (UHN): Grade 6 student Vyshnavie Prahalathan who, with her group, created a measles detector to help identify the presence of the disease in refugee camps.