WELLUS for ACCESS wins LetsStopAIDS’ The Winning Seed
The winning team of Toronto students will receive funding and mentorship to transform the HIV landscape
LetsStopAIDS is announcing WELLUS for ACCESS as the winner of The Winning Seed, a contest offering Canada-based youth aged 15 – 29 the opportunity to bring an HIV advocacy initiative to life securing support and seed funding to transform the HIV landscape. A surprise donation during the competition will see all three finalists receive seed funding and mentorship to transform their ideas into accessible programs. The first prize winner will now receive $1500, the second place will get $1000 and the third place will receive $500.
The winning team, WELLUS for ACCESS, comprises three students, Eunice Aluko and Dileesha Fernando from the University of Toronto and Abraham Aluko from Toronto Metropolitan University. Their initiative will promote healthcare and wellness access to communities facing health inequities while breaking taboos. The project’s first arm is centred on fundraising for a local clinic, making a local and direct impact. The second arm would see the group conduct a systematic review of global equity research centred around the unfair treatment of HIV/AIDS patients in Canada, Sri Lanka and Nigeria.
The second and third-place winners were SexWell, an app for tracking sexual health by Arihant Boli and Shivam Amati and Translating HIV Research: A Night of Understandable Science, a science-first event to combat misinformation in the HIV/AIDS space pitched by Ollie Dimijian.
The three finalists presented their ideas to a live jury of field expert judges. They were Alicia Sanchez, youth and community engagement specialist at UNAIDS, Matthew Halse, director of Global Public Health at ViiV Healthcare and Dr. Mona Loufty, clinician scientist at Women’s College Hospital.
“We are so proud of each of the teams who participated in The Winning Seed. I am inspired by the youth leaders who presented their initiatives today. These innovative ideas reaffirm what LetsStopAIDS knows to be true – youth hold the key to ending the HIV epidemic. We’re here to empower them to do that,” says Shamin Mohamed Jr., founder and president, LetsStopAIDS.
Click here to view the full recording of The Winning Seed pitch competition.