Co-founder, MEDIC Foundation
Anjali Menon has always been ambitious. In Grade 7, she went to a sustainability conference where she was told that the world would end in 20 years.
“I was like, No, this needs to change,” she remembers. “So in elementary school I founded my first green team.”
That same ambition drove the Coquitlam native to start a nonprofit as a 19-year-old biomedical engineering student. Her grandmother’s untimely passing in India and her mother’s Crohn’s disease diagnosis exposed her to the struggle of finding treatment for such illnesses in Canada and beyond. Now, with UBC-based MEDIC Foundation, she and classmate Madhini Vigneswaran are trying to innovate for chronic conditions.
Since 2020, MEDIC (Medical Engineering students Designing Innovations for a Cause) has been working with faculty, labs and local organizations to target four fields: depression and anxiety, Parkinson’s, cancer and diabetes. Each area has its own projects and teams, with Menon’s focus being on the Parkinson’s project in partnership with UBC’s Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre. She sees patients every week to test MEDIC’s new therapy for improving motor function.
“They smile at the end with the hope that what I’m doing can positively impact and bring change to their lives. That feeling is unmatched,” says Menon, now a fourth-year student, who admits she doesn’t tend to sleep much.
She’s passionate about leading MEDIC’s global outreach program to donate medical supplies abroad and hopes to inspire students to pursue engineering with its youth program.
“Sitting in a room of 200 men and just me in the front row asking questions in an electrical engineering class is still difficult,” Menon maintains. “But I’m proud of myself for dealing with that and persevering.”