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Dr. Yu Feng's research aims to improve public health and set new standards in global health risk assessments for vaping products.

Feng awarded bronze medal in 2024 Rural Health Innovation Challenge for groundbreaking digital system

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Media Contact: Desa James | Communications Coordinator | 405-744-2669 | desa.james@okstate.edu

Dr. Yu Feng, associate professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at Oklahoma State University, participated in the 2024 Rural Health Innovation Challenge, representing OSU's Center for Health Systems Innovation in collaboration with the Public Health Institute of Oklahoma.  

The Rural Health Innovation Challenge in Oklahoma aims to address the distinctive health care challenges that rural communities face. This challenge involved five key categories, with Feng participating in the Cardiology and Community group.  

Building upon Feng's commitment to advancing pulmonary health, he aims to develop multi-scale modeling strategies for public health programs, enhancing overall human health.

Dr. Yu Feng
Dr. Yu Feng's research aims to improve public health and has the potential to set new standards in global health risk assessments for vaping products.

Before embarking on the innovation challenge, his research was “inspired by significant health concerns associated with the rise of new and unregulated vaping products, particularly among Oklahomans in rural areas,” Feng said.  

The risks and information concerning e-cigarettes and vaping products are not always as easily accessible to the residents of Oklahoma as they should be, and “Oklahoma has higher usage rates of vaping products among adults (11%) and high school students (21.7%) compared to the national average (7.7%) for adults,” Feng said. Additionally, 41% of Oklahomans live in rural areas that have not been well-educated about the potential risks of vaping products.  

Fearing rural Oklahoma's lack of awareness regarding the adverse effects of toxic aerosols on lung health, Feng said, “The need to address these gaps and provide precise and personalized health risk assessments drove the development of the Digital Twin of Human Respiratory System (DTHRS).”  

The innovative digital model was developed to evaluate vaping products, specifically focusing on products that have not undergone regulation and testing in underprivileged regions of Oklahoma. Feng highlights that the device uses advanced computer simulations to mimic how the lungs work and demonstrates how inhaling toxins interact within the lungs. Additionally, the DTHRS provides real-time, accurate analysis of the potentially harmful effects of vaping, which are often abused.  

The research not only aims to improve public health in rural parts of Oklahoma but also has the potential to set new standards in global health risk assessments for vaping products. Placing third in the 2024 Rural Health Innovation Challenge is just one example of how Feng’s research is impacting rural health.

Story By: Natalie Henderson | Prospective Student Services Coordinator | natalie.henderson@okstate.edu

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