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Pre-18’s Meliora Centrum to inaugurate VR mental health clinic

Meliora Centrum, a local startup offering mental health services to children and teens as well as their families through the integration of virtual reality products, will inaugurate a new 1,700-square-foot clinic in Bayamón in May.

Meliora Centrum was one of the 26 local companies selected to participate in the fifth cohort of Pre-18 — an economic development incubator under the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust’s Parallel18 program —where participants receive a $25,000 grant, along with entrepreneurial education and mentorship opportunities for 12 weeks that help them launch their businesses properly.

As previously reported, Pre-18’s fifth generation recently celebrated its Demo Day and granted Meliora Centrum the AeroNet High-Speed Award, a one-year internet connectivity scholarship.

“We want to be recognized as a first-class health clinic that integrates technology, and our next steps for that are to open the clinic in May, which will allow enough space to work with more patients using the virtual reality product,” said Chelsea Serrano, CEO of Meliora Centrum.

“Within that, we will hire personnel for the health area, to provide mental health services, such as psychiatrists and psychologists who will offer service to our patients with our product,” Serrano said.

Meliora Centrum is the first company in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean to develop a virtual reality product to help treat eating disorders and health problems associated with poor nutrition or difficulty in food selection, such as diabetes and obesity.

Launched in March, the Meliora TX virtual reality experience, created by Serrano’s partner, Jorge Pérez, recreates scenarios that allow patients to expose themselves to situations that cause anxiety or stress, teaching them to manage them efficiently through practice in the office under the supervision of health specialists.

“We hope to change and innovate mental health services and health in general on the island, changing what is traditional therapy for a modern one,” Serrano said.

“Our product does not replace therapists but works as a tool so that they can use it in therapy, both to work with eating disorders and any other health problem associated with food,” Serrano said.

The CEO also mentioned that Meliora Centrum team is looking to expand the nutrition departments at hospitals and later export services stateside and around Latin America, given that the platform can be made to function in Spanish and English.

At the moment, Meliora Centrum serves approximately five patients a month, and is soon to establish a count of treated patients throughout the different clinics that use its product, including people with eating disorders, diabetes and those who have undergone bariatric surgery.

In the coming months, the clinic will develop anxiety scenarios to help patients on a more psychological level. In the past month, It was also able to complete its first three sessions with nutritionists who welcomed the product, Serrano noted.

Author Details
Author Details
Yamilet Aponte-Claudio was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She graduated from Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Providencia and is currently a junior at Sacred Heart University. Majoring in Journalism and adding a minor in sustainable development and foreign languages, she aspires to study law after obtaining her bachelor’s degree.

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