CYBERPSYCHOLOGY SEMINAR SERIES
HOST: Dr. Julie Ancis
7 WAYS IN WHICH CLINICAL VR WILL CHANGE MENTAL HEALTHCARE
Dr. Albert “Skip” Rizzo
University of Southern California
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM EST
Virtual reality (VR) has undergone a transition in the past 25 years that has taken it from the realm of expensive toy and into that of functional technology. Revolutionary advances in the underlying VR enabling technologies (i.e., computation speed and power, graphics and image rendering technology, display systems, interface devices, immersive audio, haptics tools, tracking, intelligent agents, and authoring software) have supported development resulting in more powerful, low-cost VR systems. Such advances in technological “prowess” and accessibility have provided the hardware platforms needed for the conduct of human clinical treatment and research within more usable, useful, and lower cost VR systems. Since the mid-1990s, a significant scientific literature has also evolved regarding the outcomes from the use of what we now refer to as Clinical Virtual Reality (VR). This use of VR simulation technology has produced encouraging results when applied to address cognitive, psychological, motor, and functional impairments across a wide range of clinical health conditions. This presentation will focus on seven ways that Clinical VR has already, and will continue to change the world of Mental Healthcare. Dr. Rizzo will present the trajectory of Clinical VR over the last 25 years and address the question of whether Clinical VR is ready for Primetime, concluding with a look at future trends that are expected to continue to grow in relevance and popularity in the near future as the technology continues to evolve.
Albert “Skip” Rizzo is a Clinical and Neuro- Psychologist, and Director of the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies Medical VR Lab. He is also a research professor in both the USC Dept. of Psychiatry and in the School of Gerontology. Dr. Rizzo conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of VR systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment and rehabilitation. In the psychological domain, he has directed the development/implementation of the Virtual Iraq/Afghanistan VR exposure therapy system for combat-related PTSD and is involved in translating these simulation assets for PTSD assessment and prevention (stress resilience). His cognitive work has addressed the use of VR applications to test and train cognitive functioning. In the motor domain, he develops VR game-based applications to promote rehabilitation in persons with CNS dysfunction (e.g., stroke and TBI). He is also involved in the creation of artificially intelligent virtual human patients for clinical training and for creating online virtual human healthcare guides for breaking down barriers to care in psychological health and TBI. In 2010, he received the American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Practice of Trauma Psychology for his work on VR exposure therapy for PTS and in 2015 he received the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics “Pioneer in Medicine” award. He recently received American Psychological Association Society for Military Psychology (Division 19) Presidential Citation (2019) for his contributions to the study and treatment of PTSD using Virtual Reality. In his spare time, he plays rugby, listens to music, rides his motorcycle and thinks about new ways that VR can have a positive impact on clinical care by dragging the field of psychology, kickin’ and screamin’, into the 21st Century.