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Special Presentation Focuses on Virtual Reality in Health Care

January 2018

Dr. Albert "Skip" Rizzo presented information on cutting-edge uses of virtual reality at the Northland Coffee Connect Wednesday, Jan. 3 (photo by Mat Maynor).

Increasing use of virtual reality (VR) as a tool to help post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental wellness issues was the topic of the Northland Coffee Connect Jan. 3.

Albert “Skip” Rizzo, PhD, presented “Creative Technologies for Mental Health Wellness” during his one-hour talk. He explained how VR can be used as a tool for mental health and wellness and how individuals can incorporate VR into their mental health protocols.

Rizzo noted further opportunities are available in Greater Kansas City through Omnilife VR, a co-sponsor of the event. Other sponsors were the North Kansas City Business Council and iWerx.

Director for Medical Virtual Reality, University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, Rizzo conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of VR systems targeting clinical assessment, treatment rehabilitation and resilience. His work using VR-based therapy to treat PTSD received the American Psychological Association’s 2010 Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Treatment of Trauma.

He is also working with a team that is creating artificially intelligent, virtual patients that clinicians can use to practice skills required for challenging clinical interviews and diagnostic assessments.

Rizzo has developed VR game systems to address physical rehabilitation post-stroke and post-traumatic brain injury and for prosthetic use training. He is currently designing VR scenarios to address social and vocational interaction in persons with autistic spectrum disorder.

Northland Coffee Connect events are free and open to the public each Wednesday morning at iWerx, 1520 Clay, North Kansas City. Networking begins at 7:45 a.m. and the presentation at 8 a.m.

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