Local women open new diabetes front

Leeann Monk and Jennifer Neff.
Leeann Monk and Jennifer Neff.

Two local entrepreneurs are using the latest advances in technology in the campaign against Type 2 Diabetes, with support from an exciting new clinical support programme offered by Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Clinical trials in Londonderry are currently underway in partnership with Ulster University with a second test pilot programme to be announced later this year in Dubai.

Using ground breaking technology, designed and developed by Leeann Monk and Jennifer Neff, ‘My Social Prescription’ (trademark) offers a ‘more than medicine’ approach which links those at risk of developing long term conditions to quality assured programmes in their local community.

Their company, In Your Element, was established in 2013 and has recently enrolled in the Clinical Translational Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (CTEIP), an initiative run by Derry City and Strabane District Council.

It has funding from Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

The programme offers local companies the opportunity to take advantage of available mentoring support worth up to £10,000 to develop their business, as Leeann explained.

“We were inspired by City of Culture 2013 and the CultureTech Festival to apply technology to community health,” she said.

“That was the foundation for the development of My Social Prescription.

“Due to our passion for community development and social innovation, Jennifer and I are now in a position to take health improvement to the next level, utilising 
the technology available to us and the Big Data that is generated.

“Our community development expertise, ability to engage citizens suffering from health inequalities, and business development skills place us in a very unique position to be able to make a difference both here and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where Jennifer is based.”

The system now has the potential to be utilised in other areas of healthcare, with support from CTEIP.

“We have plans to develop the system further to allow additional social prescriptions to be added to impact upon areas such as mental health, social isolation and other long term conditions,” Leeann explains.

“We will continue to explore the Middle Eastern market of the UAE and wider Middle Eastern and North Africa region given the increase in long-term conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease, and the links with their rapidly increasing levels of adult and childhood obesity.

“We are delighted to be selected as participants of the CTEI programme, adding to the support we have already received from C-TRIC, Invest NI and Techstart NI. We now look forward to driving our business forward with the support being provided.”

Hollie Carroll, Project Coordinator for CTEIP with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said she was delighted to have In Your Element enrolled in the programme. “We can provide an excellent opportunity for those currently working or hoping to break into the healthcare market by providing invaluable mentoring support, which is being delivered via NORIBIC,” she said.

“In Your Element are already well into the development of their ideas and have enormous commercial potential with their range of groundbreaking services and unique collaborative approach in setting out to improve the health of those hardest to engage in communities.

“Hopefully this will encourage others with an original concept or early stage companies to come forward and find out how the programme can help their business get off the ground.”

To find out how CTEIP can help you can contact Hollie Carroll on 028 71 253253 Ex 6680 or email cteip@derrycityandstrabanedistrict.com

Follow the progress of In Your Element on Facebook and Twitter @IYEDigital or at www.mysocialprescription.com