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Dr Brandon Birckhead (MD)

Johns Hopkins University

Brandon Birckhead, is the host of the immersive psychiatry podcast. The first series focused on the intersection of immersive technology and mental health. 

He began his work with therapeutic virtual reality by helping providers in head-restricted clinical settings, such as dentistry, use the technology for pain and anxiety relief back in 2016. He then designed a randomized study that was conducted at Mayo Clinic to examine the effect of low-cost VR (google cardboard) on pain using the cold pressor test. 

In regards to VR education, he has collaborated with radiation oncologists at Moffitt Cancer Center to assess its use in medical education. While at the Medical College of Wisconsin he designed a VR breast cancer education program to help patients understand radiation treatment and why it is of use for their cancer. He then designed a pilot study which has garnered 40K of funding from the NCI.

He then spent 3 years as a project scientist at Cedars-Sinai in Dr. Brennan Spiegel lab where he worked and helped design large randomized clinical trials exploring the use of at-home self-administered VR therapy for chronic pain. He was also the Co-Director of the Virtual Medicine conference during that time. The virtual medicine conference was the largest VR medical conference in 2019 with over 400 in attendance.  He also worked with Dr. Brennan Spiegel and a cohort of international therapeutic VR experts, to create guidelines for future clinical trials within the field. This committee of researchers is called the VR-CORE (Virtual Reality – Clinical Outcomes Research Experts). He is the first author of the paper summarizing the recommendation from the group. 

Brandon received his medical degree from Mayo Medical School. He is going to be a psychiatry resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 2021-2024.

VR Therapy: What It Can, What It Can't, And What It Could Do w/ AI

Session 5

Extended Reality for Mental Health

9.30 pm (CEST)
Friday, September 24