Edmontonians working in health sector honoured by Edify's Top 40 Under 40 list

Edify Magazine's annual Top 40 Under 40 list is out, and several Edmontonians who work in health innovation and health care made the list. Here's a look at who they are.

Raja Mita is the executive director of health innovation for Alberta Innovates. He has a PhD in experimental cancer treatments, and works with health innovators across the province "to break down barriers, deliver their discoveries to clinics, and help patients as soon as possible."

Chris Terriff and Dr. Marc Curial (who is also an emergency physician at Misericordia Community Hospital) co-founded MACH32 in 2019. The company focuses on new medical devices: it produced an aerosol containment tent to help keep health-care workers safe during the pandemic, and is currently working on an "EpiPen for trauma."

Two other honourees are tackling the opioid crisis: Dr. Josh Fanaeian, an emergency physician at Royal Alexandra Hospital, has worked to create a treatment protocol for people with an opioid use disorder, and Dr. Mohit Singh is the chief of addiction medicine for Alberta Health Services Edmonton Zone.

"I love that so many young Edmontonians are dedicating their careers and time to making real-world improvements in health and things that impact the social determinants of health. It gives me hope for the future," Clare Gibson, one of the judges for this year's competition, told Taproot.

Clare Gibson is a former health researcher and the founder of Allegorical Alchemy, which specializes in films relating to health and social issues.

Some winners from the Edify Top 40 Under 40 list

Some of the winners working in health-care and health innovation from Edify's 13th annual Top 40 Under 40 list. (Supplied)

Gibson noted that the topic of health is much broader than medical treatment.

"It includes mental health, affordable housing, active transportation, strategies to help reduce hunger and poverty, tackling the opioid crisis, and I was glad to see Edmontonian working in these areas to bring about real-world change," Gibson said.

"While health innovation is important, it is this kind of work that I think will have on improving the health of society as a whole, and I am pleased that so many nominations came from these areas."

While Gibson was grateful for the opportunity to help select Edify's Top 40 Under 40 for 2021, she noted that an age cap can favour people of privilege — and doesn't account for Edmontonians who are making meaningful contributions to society later in life.

"I would love to see the competition in the future changed to celebrate all wonderful people irrespective of age," she said.

Other winners in health-related fields include Jon Jon Rivero, the founder and CEO of Qi Creative; Reena Samra, a registered social worker, mental health therapist, and sexual assault counsellor; Michelle Okere, CEO of Compassion House Foundation; Peter Anto Johnson, a University of Alberta medical student who is working to create systemic change through research and public health initiatives; Ashley Mielke, founder and executive director of The Grief And Trauma Healing Centre; and Jananee Rasiah, academic co-ordinator for Athabasca University's health disciplines faculty.