Juan Osorio-Valencia from the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine is one of four graduate students from the UW awarded Social Entrepreneurship Fellowships by the Population Health Initiative.
As part of the fellowship program, Osorio-Valencia, an MPH student, will work with Global Water Labs, a nonprofit organization founded by Katya Cherukumilli, a post-doctoral fellow at the UW’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. This summer, Osorio-Valencia will aid the organization in developing business models for the deployment of a low-cost, environmentally sustainable technology to remove heavy metal contamination from drinking water.
In the United States, lead contamination of drinking water supplies due to decaying pipes, faucets and plumbing fixtures has caused widespread public health concern about lead poisoning. Osorio-Valencia will investigate how the affordable technology can be helpful to vulnerable U.S. communities.
"Water is essential for individual and public health, as well as being a social determinant of health," he said, "I think this topic is not only crucial but a means of fighting for environmental and social justice."