Nurse Therapist, AHS
Founder and CEO of Mimentra
An innovator, educator and nurse therapist, Derek Luk uses mobile technology and evidence-based mindfulness programs to help promote mental health.
After losing a colleague to suicide, Derek saw an imperative need for personalized and accessible mental health support for health-care professionals and first responders. He focused his master’s thesis in addressing stress and burnout for nurses working in acute care settings using an online mindfulness program. Upon finding further barriers from his research, Derek founded Mimentra in 2015.
Mimentra is a social enterprise that aims to provide accessible and personalized mental health promotion through mobile technology platforms. This brought him the coveted Startup Calgary’s People’s Choice Award in 2015, and Top Young innovators award at the University of Calgary in 2016. He was also the recipient of the Royal Bank of Canada’s Social Enterprise Accelerator and TENET Innovation to Commercialization competition via the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine. The ultimate goal of Mimentra is to collect data and turn health research into products that improve lives utilizing mindfulness based interventions.
Derek recognized the importance of collaborating with multidisciplinary profiles with different expertise in order to push innovation in health care. He partnered with Dr. Rachael Crowder, Assistant Professor from Faculty of Social Work from the University of Calgary, and Mark Vanderland, Creative Director from Made by Uppercut, to design and develop the Mimentra app. Through this initiative, Derek was able to successfully secure a $62,000 grant from Alberta Innovates. With the funding, his team was able to create a prototype that provides personalized mindfulness training for first responders and post-secondary students.
Since its inception, Derek has led numerous mindfulness programs focusing on stress, burnout, depression, and chronic pain for individuals and organizations based on their specific needs. Some of the organizations include Alberta Health Services, University of Calgary, Calgary Police Service, and Lethbridge Correctional Services.
For Derek, helping cultivate mental wellness within his community, staying involved and giving back by offering a stimulating learning environment and support to individuals who selflessly care for those in need is such a rewarding job.
“For anyone in health care with a desire to address a problem, go out and share your idea, says Derek. “Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. You have no idea what you are capable of until you try.”