Health Change Lab

What is Health Change Lab?

Change Lab programs have been running at SFU since 2011. In less than four months, Health Change Lab students work in interdisciplinary teams to develop a project that addresses a pertinent social, environmental, or economic challenge concerning community health in the City of Surrey.


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.



Program dates:  September 3 – November 28, 2019

Tuesdays 11:30am – 5:20pm at SFU Surrey.

Thursdays 2:30pm – 5:20pm at the RADIUS Social Innovation Lab (200-308 West Hastings Street, Vancouver).

There is a day-long offsite retreat on September 10, expenses covered.


Commensurate 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.


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


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.

Pre-requisites (may be waived at discretion of instructors in extenuating circumstances):

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

How to apply

Application Deadline: April 7, 2019 at 11:59 PM PDT

To apply, please send a copy of your unofficial transcripts, an updated CV, and a letter of motivation (500 words) to


If you’re interested in setting up a phone call with a Change Lab alumni, sign up below and we’ll match you with an alumni based on your faculty and interests. 

past cohorts

Meet our most recent cohorts! ​​


Generously supporting the program

Health Change Lab is generously supported by Scott Shaw, Scotiabank and Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship and it is co-delivered with the Faculty of Health Sciences.