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College of Public Health

Valleybrook Institute for Research on
Technology in Underserved Environments

Our vision for the VIRTUE Laboratory is as a unique venue for students, faculty, and community partners to work collaboratively to find practical solutions to the health challenges facing people living in rural and isolated communities.  

VIRTUE will seek to find “frugal,”  low-cost, scalable solutions to challenges that impact the health and quality of life.  Problems like:

  • Can we create a child car seat for vehicles that lack seat belts?
  • Can we build a hydroponic garden with bicycle power?
  • Can we design a low-cost playground for children with disabilities?
  • What indigenous crops are best for a pregnant woman (iron) or for a toddler (vitamin A)?
  • How can we  preserve food without refrigeration?
  • How could solar panels help distribute health information and educational opportunities?

Can we work together to identify the least costly investments that can make the greatest difference in the health, welfare, and quality of life of the people  who live in  a particular low-resource area? 

Julie Obenauer Motley

Doctoral Seminar

COBH 6195 Doctoral Seminar Class

Students in the COBH 6195 Doctoral Seminar Class research real-world challenges and partnership solutions, find answers and develop scalable "frugal" technologies, and seek to create small business opportunities in the developing world where possible.



"The RE:CYCLING program highlights efforts to solve public health issues using locally available technology.”

Re-engineering: Contributions to Youth Charity and Learning Innovation and New Idea Generation (RE:CYCLING) consists of two parts—refurbishing bicycles for local children and using bicycles to design “machines” that can improve the quality of life in low resource areas.

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