Health Change Lab

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Paola Ardiles, Faculty of Health Sciences

Project team: Shawn Smith, Beedie School of Business, and Patricia Mahecha, research assistant

Timeframe: September 2016 to August 2017

Funding: $5,000  

Courses addressed:

  • HSC 495 – Applied Health Science Project
  • BUS 453 – Sustainable Innovations

Description: In September 2016, instructors teaching HSC 495 Applied Health Science Project and BUS 453 Sustainable Innovations will partner to offer the first ever Health Change Lab at SFU Surrey Campus, in collaboration with various community partners including the City of Surrey and Fraser Health Authority.

The Health Change Lab is designed to develop innovative, entrepreneurial solutions to complex health problems in the community. The course is based on team projects and will provide students an opportunity for experiential learning, design thinking, community engagement and application of systems thinking to address particular health issues in a particular setting.

For this TLDG project, we will evaluate the Health Change Lab program by exploring student experiences to better understand how this approach can enhance student experiential learning, in addition to assessing the impact of the student projects on the Surrey community.

Questions addressed:

  • Which students are taking this course and what is their background in some of the topics covered?
  • What expectations do students have for this course? Did the course live up to those expectations?
  • What are the enablers and barriers in designing and implementing academic and community partnerships?
  • What is the value of this course experience for the community partners involved?
  • What is the community impact of the Health Change Lab?

Knowledge sharing:

Ardiles, P. (2017, May). Enhancing the healthy universities movement: Engaging students as transformed learners and future leaders in social innovation. Keynote address, Towards Equity and Social Innovation: International Health Promotion Colloquium Conference, Brasilia, BR.

Ardiles, P. (2017, May). Tapping into the right-brain: Exploring the future of health promotion community-based experiential education. Presentation the Pecha Kucha C2U Expo: For the Common Good Conference, Vancouver, BC.

Ardiles, P., Smith, S., Martin, M., & Mahecha, P. (2017, May). Measuring impact of community-academic partnerships in social innovation and community health. Presentation at the Pecha Kucha C2U Expo: For the Common Good Conference, Vancouver, BC.

Simon Fraser University News. (2017, July 2014). SFU is designated as the first Ashoka U Changemaker campus in British Columbia. Retrieved from

Keywords: community collaboration, clients, project-based learning, health education, sustainable innovations, interviews, focus groups, surveys