CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A member of the University of Virginia School of Medicine has been recognized for research discoveries that are making a major impact.
According to a release from the UVA Licensing and Ventures Groups, Lee M. Ritterband, PhD has been named the 2019 Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year.
Ritterband is the director of the Center for Behavioral Health and Technology and has been recognized for pioneering the development of digital therapeutics for various behavioral health issues and his work to make these treatments widely accessible via commercialization.
The release highlights the Sleep Healthy Using the Internet, or SHUTi, that is a digital therapeutic using technology to administer cognitive behavioral therapy for people who suffer from insomnia.
In 2011, Ritterband co-founded BeHealth Solutions, LLC to deliver digital health solutions like SHUTi and expanding access to effective behavioral health care.
“We are thrilled to honor Dr. Lee Ritterband for his work pioneering the integration of digital solutions for patients living with a variety of issues including insomnia, cancer, diabetes, and substance abuse, just to name a few,” said Michael Straightiff, the executive director of UVA LVG. “Ritterband sits firmly at the helm of this emerging field and his efforts to make these treatments available on a mass scale through commercialization stands to significantly reduce the overall cost of behavioral health care.”
The release also highlights other recent works such as CARRII to reduce alcohol-exposed pregnancy risk, UCanPoopToo to help families of children with encopresis, mySmartSkin to increase skin self-examination and sun protection behaviors among patients with melanoma; BGATHome to help diabetes patients recognize and anticipate extreme blood glucose fluctuations, and iSHIFTup to prevent pressure ulcers in adults with spinal cord injury.
“As a clinical psychologist one of the things I was trained to do was help people,” said Ritterband. “Digital therapeutics allow me to do it in a much broader way. Instead of the hundreds of people we might be able to help in a clinic, we can scale these platforms to help thousands, tens of thousands or maybe millions at some point by making these kinds of interventions available.”
He said he wouldn't have been able to accomplish any of these things without collaboration from his colleagues and the multidisciplinary center team at UVA among others.
Ritterband will be honored at the 2019 Innovator of the Year Award Ceremony on Feb. 21.