A dream come true for insomnia patients has helped earn a University of Virginia professor the highest honor bestowed upon UVa innovators.
Lee Ritterband, the director of UVa’s Center for Behavioral Health & Technology, received the Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year from the school’s Licensing and Ventures Group.
Ritterband has developed multiple online programs to address behavioral health issues and has worked to make his technology widely available, according to a news release from UVa.
One of his inventions includes Sleep Healthy Using the Internet, or SHUTi, an internet-based therapy that retrains the body and mind for sleep.
In 2011, Ritterband co-founded BeHealth Solutions LLC with Joseph Jennings and former UVa faculty member Frances Thorndike to deliver digital health solutions that expand access to affordable and 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, executive director the group, according to the release.
“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.”
BeHealth Solutions’ products also include CARII, to reduce alcohol-exposed pregnancy risk, and BGATHome, to help diabetes patients recognize and anticipate extreme blood glucose fluctuations.
“As a clinical psychologist, one of the things I was trained to do was help people,” Ritterband said in the release. “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.”