Heersinks’ gift continues to fuel health-care innovation at McMaster University

A round image of Marnix and Mary Heersink that is set on top of a photo of a person’s gloved hand. The photo is heavily stylized with graphic illustrations of DNA molecules and a human body.

The Marnix E. Heersink School of Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Department of Surgery at McMaster University are launching a Master of Biomedical Innovation (MBI) program in September, pending final approval by Ontario’s quality council.

The MBI is the first graduate health-care entrepreneurship program of its kind in Canada and offers students a one-year course guiding them through the biomedical innovation and entrepreneurship process. Students will receive personalized guidance from coaches and mentors. Admissions will open this spring.

The program stems from a donation of more than $32 million Cdn made by Alabama physician and entrepreneur Marnix E. Heersink and his wife Mary in February 2022 to boost McMaster’s role as a hub for biomedical innovation, entrepreneurship and global health. The Marnix E. Heersink School of Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship was founded in June 2022 to educate the next generation of health-care innovators and entrepreneurs.

“It’s wonderful to commemorate the anniversary of Marnix and Mary’s extraordinary gift as the MBI program is advancing through final approval processes. The impact of the Heersinks’ generosity will be seen for generations to come as health innovators and entrepreneurs emerge from the Marnix E. Heersink School of Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” said John Kelton, executive director of the Michael G. DeGroote Initiative for Innovation in Healthcare, professor of medicine and friend of the Heersinks.

Mohit Bhandari, chair of the Department of Surgery, said that “The Department of Surgery is committed to creating a culture and vision that inspires. This includes creating transformation through innovation and entrepreneurship. The MBI program is the result of a visionary collaboration that will cultivate a dynamic ecosystem to educate future leaders, and foster innovation that will transform health care.”

As the anniversary of the Heersinks’ gift is commemorated, the MBI program marks a significant advancement, positioning McMaster to advance the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the health care sector.

Graduates of the MBI program will have the knowledge and skills needed to seamlessly foster innovative biomedical approaches to current and future health-care challenges from the earliest stage into practical, market-ready ventures. MBI graduates will contribute to the growing biomedical and health technology sector, attracting and retaining entrepreneurial talent that leads to the creation not only of improved health care, but new jobs, economic growth and community benefits.

“It is wonderful to see the significant progress made since Marnix and Mary Heersink provided their incredible gift to McMaster. The new MBI program is a great example of how this gift will enable our Faculty to further build our international reputation for innovation in health sciences research and education,” said Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The Marnix E. Heersink School of Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the MBI program will be based in the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery. The new space is currently under construction and is projected to be completed by the program’s launch this fall.

More details will be posted at https://healthinnovation.mcmaster.ca/degree-programs/mbi/ as it becomes available.

Prospective students are advised that offers of admission to a new program may be made only after the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance has approved the program.

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