Health research donation to UBCO in Kelowna

Funding supports early career health researchers working with industry and communities.

A $150,000 gift to UBC’s Okanagan campus is enabling a new funding resource that supports early career health researchers working with industry and communities.

Established with an endowment from Ulco Visser—a Colorado educator, philanthropist and president of the Impact Foundation —the Innovations in Wellness Fund will foster partnerships between industry and academia that tackle challenges spanning the complete spectrum of physical, mental and social well-being.

“The aim of this visionary fund is to work with partners to co-define questions, opportunities or problems,” said Gordon Binsted, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Development.

“By overlapping partner and academic interests, the fund ensures that research outcomes can move quickly to active use.”

The Innovations in Wellness Fund’s unique model was jointly developed with the Faculty of Health and Social Development and Mitacs—a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to research and training programs. Its multilayer funding model ensures Visser’s three-year gift will have maximum benefit to students, faculty and the community.

“Increased funding for graduate students and post-doctoral students are the short-term benefits of the funding model and the long-term effects would ultimately be improved well-being in the community,” said Visser.

Accepting its first applications in 2016, each research proposal will identify its alignment with the World Health Organization’s comprehensive characterization of health: A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

“The Faculty of Health and Social Development is a dynamic, integrated faculty that brings together multiple disciplines to bear on the health challenges of our time,” said Adrienne Nolan, UBC Okanagan’s director of development.

“This type of fund will support the faculty’s goal of promoting synergies between businesses, not-for-profits, government and academia while allowing donors to support their passions.”

In 2013, Visser donated $1.2 million to the campus to create a program of mindfulness.