JoAnn Difede, Ph.D., is the founding director of the Virtual Reality Lab at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Dr. Difede is recognized for her pioneering work using virtual reality (VR) technology in the treatment of PTSD consequent to the WTC attacks and combat-related PTSD. She has developed VR simulations for diverse traumas (WTC, combat-related PTSD, natural disasters, house fires) and pain distraction beginning in the years prior to commercially available consumer grade VR hardware. Her VR treatment research spans burns, terrorism, and occupations at-risk for PTSD, including military personnel, firefighters and police officers. Her lab is developing new immersive pain distraction protypes for acute pain. She also advises start-up companies about the development of VR products in healthcare.