vr-gameA visualization of a "virtual reality patient" experience. The project has received funding from Southwestern Medical Foundation. 

Southwestern Medical Foundation and the National Institutes for Health (NIH) have provided grants to a research team from the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) at The University of Texas at Dallas to fuel ongoing research into virtual reality-based medical experiences. 

The Center for Modeling and Simulation and the Virtual Humans and Synthetic Societies Lab, both led by ATEC professor Dr. Marjorie Zielke, are developing an emotive “Virtual Reality Patient,” with the grant from Southwestern Medical Foundation, that medical students will be able to use to improve their patient communication skills. The NIH approved a clinical trial planning grant to explore virtual reality-graded exposure therapy for those with chronic back pain. 

“Both of these new projects continue to establish the center’s growing presence in the medical simulation space,” Zielke said. “Serious games for health and medicine along with our virtual humans program are both critical research areas that we want to continue to grow and nurture.” 

“From its very beginning, Southwestern Medical Foundation has sought to advance medical knowledge to benefit our community,” said Kathleen Gibson, president and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “As new methods of advanced learning become available, we want to support those innovations that keep medical education at UT Southwestern at the forefront. This collaboration between UTD and UTSW is an exciting example of such innovation and progress.”

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