Health Change Lab

What is Health Change Lab?

Health Change Lab is a once-in-a-degree immersive program that provides students with hands-on learning in tackling challenging social, economic, and environmental issues facing the City of Surrey. Third and fourth-year undergraduate students from across SFU come together to form interdisciplinary teams. Together, they investigate a local social problem, build a sustainable business intervention to respond to it, and pitch their ideas to community influencers – all in just 13 weeks.

“Health promotion” refers to the process of enabling people and communities to take control of and to improve their health and wellbeing. In the Health Change Lab, students learn about social entrepreneurship, systems thinking, public health, and community health. 

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Curious about what other students had to say about the experience? Check out our testimonial page to find out!


Application Opening Date & Deadline

We are not currently accepting applications for Health Change Lab.

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What Will You Learn and Do?

In Health Change Lab, participants work in interdisciplinary teams to investigate a community health-related challenge. Then, they develop and test an innovative, venture-based response. Teams will present to partner panels for feedback mid term and be given the opportunity to connect with community and City partners and leaders to help build their ideas with the possibility of seeing them proceed in the real world.

Sessions are a mix of hands on workshops, coaching by instructors and experts, limited content lectures, guest speakers, and open work time in your teams to advance your ideas. This course is co-taught by three experienced instructors. Mentors, speakers, and project partners are sourced through our extensive networks.


3rd or 4th year students from any discipline who are interested in a unique, experiential, group project-based program that addresses real-world issues in the City of Surrey.

Ideal Change Lab students come in with keen curiosity and a willingness to explore and deepen their own leadership skills. Individual reflection and journaling are part of the course. Participants will be challenged to both give and receive feedback from peers and instructors. Openness, vulnerability, and the ability to listen deeply are highly valued.

Meet the 2020 cohort!

Program Information


The Workload

In line with 10 credits, you should expect this to be an intensive experience. Many students have described the course as the most transformative of their undergraduate degree – but you have to be interested in and committed to:

  • developing and testing real ideas,
  • getting out of the classroom and talking to people, and
  • taking responsibility for the direction of your learning during the term.

There isn’t a lot of mandatory reading or information to memorize – you work with us to figure out what you need to learn to effectively advance your project.

The Content

Some of the topics you will learn about are social entrepreneurship, systems thinking, public health and community health issues pertinent to Surrey, determinants of health, business model development, personal development, effective teams, and more.

The specific credits that you are awarded are:

  • BUS 453 (Sustainable Innovations) – 3 credits
  • BUS 494 (Design for Innovation) – 3 credits
  • HCSI 495 (Applied Health Sciences Project) – 4 credits

How to Apply

Health Change Lab Admission Requirements

You do not need any past business or health experience to thrive in this course! Expect your changemaking peers to bring a variety of perspectives from departments and faculties across the university, a breadth of experience from their own lives, and a shared passion for social and environmental issues.

While we value experience in social change, leadership and project creation of all sorts, we also encourage anyone excited about the description here to consider applying.

Admission requirements (may be waived at discretion of instructors in extenuating circumstances):

  • 60 credits
  • 2.67 GPA
  • Some relevant work or volunteer experience

*May be waived at the discretion of instructors.

Submitting your application

Please email your application to

Include a letter of interest, not more than 350 words, summarizing why you would like to take part in this program in your application email.

Attach the following two documents:

  • A recent copy of your CV/Resume;
  • An unofficial copy of your transcripts

Stay in Touch

Add to your contact list

As applicants, we want to keep you in the loop. Because we send out a large number of emails our messages can sometimes end up in your spam filter. Please add to your contact list to ensure you receive our response.

The Team

Meet the RADIUS Team Behind Health Change Lab

The Health Change Lab will be stewarded by the following team of individuals. This team will also invite in a variety of guests from the local community.

Alia Sunderji

Alia is a social entrepreneur and lecturer at Simon Fraser University where she teaches Sustainable Innovation and Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Passionate about the fields of sustainability, poverty alleviation and impact investing, Alia is the Founder of Luv The Grub an emerging social enterprise that operates at a number of levels in the food system by capturing produce seconds that would otherwise go to waste, hires newcomer refugees and immigrants through a paid employment training program and produces delicious chutneys and spreads for the local market. In addition, Alia is also the Co-Founder of Liv & Lola; a fair trade home decor business which works with artisans in rural areas of Nicaragua, Guatemala and Thailand where employment opportunities are scarce in an effort to lift them, their families and their communities out of poverty.


Tim Ames

Tim is responsible for the implementation of the collaborative strategic direction of both Plan Institute & PLAN, a role that he has held for five years. Tim has also served as a community connector for PLAN, sat on the board of Plan Institute and worked for three years as General Manager for Tyze—an online personal networking service and a certified B-Corp Social Enterprise developed by PLAN. Tim also teaches Sustainable Innovation and is a Mentor in Residence at Simon Fraser University and the Venture Connection. Before working In the Not for Profit sector Tim was the Managing Director and Vice President of an International technology company and worked in Canada, the USA and Europe. Tim brings over 25 years of experience in business, sales, management, and personal development and is passionate about helping people and organizations create success and sustainability.


Paola Ardiles

Paola Ardiles BSc (hons) MHSc MBA is a public health advocate, an educator and a social entrepreneur. Throughout her career she has led various collaborative and innovative approaches in research, policy and practice, to enable a broader understanding of our collective role in promoting health and well-being for all. Paola came to Canada as a refugee child in the mid-seventies and formed part of the Chilean diaspora who established itself in Toronto during the military dictatorship. Since then Paola has been driven to create social change by sharing knowledge and creating space for people’s voices to be heard. Today, she serves as a bridge or a “knowledge broker” through her roles as a educator, mentor, advocate, policy analyst, entrepreneur, advisor, facilitator and public speaker. In 2017, Paola was recognized as one of TD Bank’s 10th Most Influential Hispanic Canadians.

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The Change Lab Experience


Making Health Change Lab possible