Schulich Medicine & Dentistry students challenge one of the world’s major health issues

Annually during International Week, Western Unviersity hosts the World’s Challenge Challenge — an event that challenges student teams to present a solution to a problem the world is facing.

This year, Mitchell Canes, Jessica Siu and Daniel Stojanovic, Medicine Class of 2018, received second place for their proposed solution to the issue of vitamin A deficiency and its effects on small children.

Vitamin A is available at a low cost, and even small doses can help prevent blindness and other vision-related issues. However, the transportation of packages of vitamins can be costly, making it difficult to reach the populations around the world that require them.

In their presentation, Canes, Siu and Stojanovic suggested partnering with international non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations with large distribution channels, such as Coca-Cola, to help with transportation.

The team proposed that Vitamin A packages could be sent using negative spaces in the companies’ containers, ensuring these essential vitamins could reach the people that need them in the most affordable way possible.

Canes said taking part in the event was a terrific experience, and it was a lot of fun developing the presentation for the challenge.

“It was a really different experience to work on the logistics and other aspects of the project that weren’t necessarily medical, but still related to a health issue,” Canes explained. “When it was announced that we won second place it came as a little bit of a surprise to all of us as the caliber of other presentations was high, but it was of course a nice honour and validation for the work we put in.”

The World’s Challenge Challenge stems from President Amit Chakma’s honorary doctorate address at the University of Waterloo in 2010, in which he stated, “If you embrace a global vision, your talents and creative minds hold the potential and the power to solve [enormous world challenges] and improve the human condition right across our global village.” First prize winners receive $1,000 per team member to be used on an international learning opportunity such as studying abroad, service learning, exchange or other experiences.