Meet a MaRSian: Monique Albert

Meet a MaRSian: Monique Albert

In this latest instalment of Meet a MaRSian, Angelo Casanas interviews Monique Albert, manager of the EXCITE program at MaRS.

What is EXCITE?

EXCITE stands for Excellence in Clinical Innovation and Technology Evaluation. It’s a collaborative network that brings together the industry, government, academic centres and hospitals across the province. In some ways, EXCITE functions as a broker, a facilitator and an architect of a novel platform to help new technologies gain traction in the health system.

What does your role entail?

I execute the day-to-day tasks, whether that’s facilitating that full client experience, amassing information to share with people, developing processes, working with the methodology centres across the province or keeping stakeholders engaged—a grand majority of that falls onto my plate.

Who gains value from EXCITE?

EXCITE helps companies improve the likelihood of adoption and uptake of their breakthrough health technology innovations. As a result, better health technologies can get to market faster, which creates improved health outcomes.

There’s value for patients, as the best technologies are being sought early and we’re identifying technologies that will really be valuable to people. EXCITE also fosters such technologies, earmarking them and helping them get through the system faster.

There is also value for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, as the best technologies are taken through to develop the right evidence to support reimbursement decision-making. EXCITE also looks at technologies with significant cost savings. Better technologies with decreased costs can make a big difference to the healthcare system.

On the other side of things, EXCITE also helps great technologies develop, grow and stay in Ontario. It creates an environment where companies can develop, create more jobs, attract more businesses and put Ontario on the map for healthcare innovation.

People have told me that you’re a certified Hula Hoop instructor. What does it mean to be certified?

It just means that I went through a training program and have been deemed qualified in their curriculum. Hula Hooping, however, really is free-form creation. It’s the concept of finding one’s voice within that space, exploring it with that object and finding authenticity.

How did you get interested in Hula Hooping?

I was out at a park one day and I saw a woman with a Hula Hoop who was so graceful with this thing that it looked like the Hula Hoop was self-powered. It was magically staying up while she was dancing to gorgeous music and this Hula Hoop was just dancing around her.

I thought: “How is this happening?” I looked, and looked, and looked, and I thought: “I think I can do that? I think I can do that!”

Does that curiosity come into play while managing EXCITE?

Whether it’s finding your way in science or in the creative arts, you have to have that inquisitive nature and want to know more. There is also the other side of things, where you have to invest some time, be willing to take on some risk and be comfortable experiencing a little bit of failure. Sometimes you don’t know all of the answers, but that’s OK.