Podcast: Impact Gap

Our mission is to bridge the healthcare gap for the every-person.

IMPACT GAP Podcast

The first patient-centred podcast committed to amplifying the patient perspective, providing a platform for patients to share their views and to raising awareness for important patient issues within healthcare.

Our mission is to bridge the healthcare gap for the every-person.

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We are a student-run podcast group at the University of Toronto. We are currently first-year Master’s students in the Translational Research Program at the University of Toronto.

As students in Translational Research, we recognize the importance of identifying gaps and unmet needs within the healthcare system. Our goal is to put the focus back onto patients and to hear directly from patients regarding their perspectives on the Canadian healthcare system.

Our Team

Role: Audio Engineer

Personal Statement:

I am a medical doctor focusing on arthritis and improving surgical outcomes in individuals undergoing peripheral nerve repair. After graduating, I volunteered to offer care to the underserved populations and I am currently pursuing a Master’s in Health Sciences in Translational Research at the University of Toronto. Outside of medicine, I love Frappuccinos, my cats and spending time with family and friends.

Why Impact Gap?

Being an empath, I strive to improve the quality of life for doctors and patients. Impact Gap is geared towards highlighting the critical and essential unmet needs of the people in healthcare. My goal is to positively empower people to optimize their well-being. I am humbled to be a part of an exceptional team at the Impact Gap Podcast.

Role: Lead Audio Engineer

Personal Statement:

I graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science degree where I completed a double major in Neuroscience and Physiology. Driven by a desire to directly help patients, I then worked as a clinical research assistant at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. I am excited to continue to explore healthcare research through the Translational Research Program at the University of Toronto.

Why Impact Gap?

I am interested in Impact gap because it is the first podcast to recognize patients as experts in their own healthcare and as valuable partners in scientific research. By highlighting the patient experience, we will be able to have a better understanding of how patients are directly impacted by healthcare and scientific research.

Role: Social Media Specialist

Personal Statement:

I am a 1st year Master’s of Health Sciences student in the Translational Research Program at the University of Toronto. I joined the program after previously completing my undergraduate degree at McMaster University in the Life Sciences program. I have a particular interest in health inequity, BIPOC women’s health, and refugee/recent immigrant health services and access. Outside of health and science, I love reading, binge-watching thrillers and murder mysteries series, and spending time with my pet Chihuahua, Lucy.

Why Impact Gap?

As someone with a passion for health education and improving health knowledge translation to people outside of science and medicine, the Impact Gap Podcast was a great fit! Through the podcast, I aim to address health knowledge gaps to hopefully improve common knowledge of current health concerns.

Role: Team Lead

Personal Statement:

I am currently a first-year Master’s student in the Translational Research Program at the University of Toronto. I also work as a research assistant at the Kunin-Lunenfeld Centre for Applied Research and Evaluation (KL-CARE) at Baycrest. In this role, I collaborate with clinicians, scientists, and industry partners to provide my research expertise in designing and implementing quality improvement projects, applied research studies, and pilot feasibility studies using innovative healthcare technologies.

Why Impact Gap?

I am a part of the Impact Gap Podcast because of the importance of amplifying patient perspectives and recognizing patients as experts in their care. Our podcast provides a platform for patients to share their views and to raise awareness of important patient issues within our healthcare system.

Role: Volunteer

Personal Statement:

I am currently a first-year Master’s student in the Translational Research Program after recently graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Neuroscience and Cell and Molecular Biology. My experience comes from a variety of projects involved in my professional and volunteer roles including working in medical device sales and marketing, working in a pharmacy, assisting with animal research at the University of Toronto, and volunteering for William Osler Hospital and the mental health community centre Our Place Community of Hope. Exposed to different workplaces within health and science, I joined this program with immense curiosity on the existing gaps of our healthcare system.

My current research interests are in regenerative medicine, the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, and mental health. In my free time, I enjoy working out or playing sports, practicing my painting and piano/violin playing, and going on runs with my awesome dog Maximus.

 

Why Impact Gap?

 

If some of the goals of medicine are to (1) encompass the relief of pain and suffering and to (2) promote health and prevent disease, then we are talking about and will always be talking about the patient. Specifically, we are talking about a patient who all of us have been, are, or will be. Since patients are ultimately affected by the decisions made by healthcare policies, providers, and research scientists, it is extremely important to have the patient voice heard. With Impact Gap being the first patient-centred podcast at the University of Toronto, I am excited to join a team that actively seeks to learn about and improve knowledge translation.

Role: Web Administrator and External Lead

Personal Statement:

I have 11 years of international and national experience serving diverse populations. I have a broad-based background and skills in Bio-Electronics, Health Informatics, Clinical Engineering, and Clinical/Pre-clinical/Experimental (Translational) Medicine. I have been involved in multiple projects in different therapeutic units: respiratory and pulmonary diseases, neuromuscular diseases (DMD), oncology, CVS, Diabetes, and pharma industry experience. I am currently a first-year student in the Translational Research Program at the University of Toronto.

Why Impact Gap?

Impact Gap is the first patient-oriented podcast. Discussions in the Impact Gap Podcast will improve the lives of patients and help to find unmet needs.

Gabriella Chan for the TRP, November 2020

As we approach ten months of living, working, and studying in our homes, isolated from friends and family and facing ever-increasing numbers of cases, deaths, and further isolation during the winter months, one can be forgiven for occasionally slipping into moments of despair. Yet, despite the public health nightmare, economic tragedy, and the lingering health impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are silver linings.

Never in recent memory has the public learned so much about the procurement of personal protective equipment and ventilators, the fragility of the supply chain, Health Canada and FDA medical device, therapeutic and vaccine approval procedures, and emergency use authorizations. By and large, we have taken these ever-present activities for granted, or more likely, were previously utterly oblivious to both their existence and importance. At least in this respect, it has been an enlightening ten months.

In the fog of a new pandemic, the immediate primary focus is, as it should be, on stemming the spread of the virus and blunting the death toll with the tools at hand. But in the shadows of the feverish effort to develop easy to use yet accurate diagnostics and effective and safe therapeutics and vaccines, another fight is brewing. Do the manufacturers of these essential products have the right to use some of the technology they incorporate into those products?

This fight has spilled into the open with Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s (“Allele”) U.S. Patent No. 10,221,221, titled “Monomeric Yellow-Green Fluorescent Protein from Cephalochordate” issued March 5, 2019. The patent protects mNeonGreen, a synthetic fluorophore, and antibody technology used to identify neutralizing antibodies and vaccine candidates. It is now also the focus of a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Allele against Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Regeneron”), Pfizer, Inc. (“Pfizer”), and BioNTech SE and BioNTech US, Inc. (together “BioNTech”). As it turns out, mNeonGreen may not only have been the lynchpin that allowed the pharma companies to test vaccine candidates at warp speed but was also part of the Regeneron antibody cocktail administered to President Donald Trump during his COVID-19 treatment.

 

Over the arc of translation and commercialization, blockbuster products, including diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, are developed, tested, and built on the shoulders of thousands of inventions, some of which are not owned by the product manufacturer. In some cases, licensing agreements for rights to use various inventions or technologies are negotiated among companies upfront. In others, licensing negotiations to follow a cease and desist letter threatening litigation for patent infringement. For some, however, licensing only follows a successful patent infringement lawsuit in which the highest court in the land upholds the validity of the patent at issue. In this case, as a conscientious intellectual property owner exercising is exclusionary (or negative) rights, Allele reached out to Regeneron on multiple occasions to negotiate a license for Regeneron’s use of mNeonGreen. Given the lawsuit, Regeneron ostensibly ignored those calls.

While messy on any ordinary day, amid a raging pandemic when first to market advantage of a game-changing product is the equivalent of netting the proverbial golden goose, the stakes of high-profile litigation are astronomical. On November 9, 2020, Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine showed a staggering 90% efficacy. Could they have achieved that result in such a short time without Allele’s technology? And so, the brewing fight begins!

Gabriella is a lawyer, scientist, educator, mentor, and entrepreneur. She advises individuals, start-up ventures, established companies, and stakeholders in the life sciences and health technology sectors. She works closely with world-renowned clinicians and researchers to commercialize academic inventions. Gabriella is an engaging educator. Her breadth of legal knowledge and real-world start-up experience offer invaluable perspectives on the ethically sound translation and commercialization of academic inventions. At the TRP, Gabriella is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream. She teaches Modules in Translational Research including the Intellectual Property Fundamentals, the Applied Intellectual Property, and the Procurement, Privacy, and Regulatory Affairs module.