GRAY, TN (WJHL) – East Tennessee State University launched the Niswonger VILLAGE at their Eastman Valleybrook campus in Gray on Friday morning.
The VILLAGE (Virtual International Living: Learning Across Global Environments) is what they are calling a public health simulation lab that gives students from the College of Public Health hands on experience in improving health in rural areas or disaster relief situations.
Dean of the College of Public Health at ETSU Randy Wykoff said this training is important for every one of their students.
“Most of our graduates will be working in hospitals or clinics or health departments,” Wykoff said. “But every one of them, at some point in their career, is going to have to respond to a disaster or be a mission volunteer overseas or otherwise have to work in a low-resource setting.”
The facility is made up of several replicas of low-resource homes from various nations around the world.
Students will spend time learning to help people in these settings with skills like making water filters or making bricks from scratch.
“Our goal here is to make sure that our students have the skills that they need to work effectively anywhere in the world, including right here in Appalachia,” Wykoff said.
The VILLAGE provides an opportunity for students to go beyond the classroom and learn from experience.
Through the Niswonger Foundation, Scott Niswonger donated the money used to build the village and continues to contribute to its growth.
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