Executive Vice President
Gita joined Penumbra in 2016 and currently serves as Executive Vice President and General Manager, Real System. Prior to joining Penumbra, Gita worked at Stryker Corporation for 12 years where she held a variety of positions with successively greater responsibility in both Stryker’s Orthopedics Group and Neurovascular division in product management, strategy, business development/integration and information technology. Prior to Stryker, Gita held various product development roles with other cardiovascular medical device companies including WL Gore and Associates and Cordis, a Johnson & Johnson company, in the areas of coronary and peripheral vascular products. Gita received a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami (FL) and an Executive MBA from Santa Clara University.
Global Digital Health Expert with expertise in leading teams to successful execution of complex projects and growing revenue. Navigate multi-cultural environments and cross-functional teams. Recognized for entrepreneurial approach with a proven track record in delivering growth. Expert in every stage from product design to scientific validation to product launch.
Yale School of Medicine
Director, play4REAL XR Lab at Yale
Deputy Director, Yale Center for Health & Learning Games/play2PREVENT Lab
Yale School of Medicine
Editor-in-Chief, Games for Health Journal
Kimberly Hieftje, PhD, is a Research Scientist and the Director of the play4REAL XR Lab at the Yale School of Medicine, which focuses on the development and evaluation of theory and evidence-informed videogame interventions using XR technology. For the past 12 years, her research has focused on the development and testing of health behavior change and education videogames and has published frequently on developing, evaluating, and implementing game interventions. She has worked on games that have focused on topics including e-cigarette prevention, tobacco use prevention, risk reduction in adolescents, HIV/STI prevention, HIV/STI testing, empowering Black teen girls on their sexual health, alcohol use prevention and harm reduction in teens, bystander intervention, LGBTQ bullying, and school climate.
Dr. Hieftje is a third-year K12 Scholar in the Yale Scholars in Implementation Science program (YSIS) at the Yale School of Medicine funded by NHLBI, a program designed to train junior faculty in implementation science. Her research focuses on better understanding the factors associated with successful implementation of game interventions in schools.
Dr. Hieftje is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Games for Health Journal, the premier journal in the field of serious games for health.
An experienced entrapreneur in the international high tech industry, PhD in Material science and complementary strong business acumen. with 20 years’ experience in product development, marketing, strategic alliances and business development. Passionate about new technologies, creative and open minded. Identifies emerging markets, understands customer needs and creates conditions for success. Generates new sales and profitable revenue streams.
Passionate about marketing research as well as genuinely curious about people and ideas. I love to work on tasks that challenge me intellectually and enable me to utilise my meticulous attention to detail and friendly, professional manner.
CEO and Co-Founder
Amy Hedrick is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Cleanbox Technology. Her strategy for building a thriving business by solving a real-world problem, and her vision for creating a global impact brand with reach across multiple industries, has grown the company from an idea to a multi-million-dollar global business in two short years. Hedrick brought investment into Cleanbox, and her execution of the company’s vision has established Cleanbox as a brand trusted by its many Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 clients.
Hedrick is a thought leader in the applications of immersive technology as industry disruptors and brings innovation ideas and product functionality to Cleanbox’s smart tech hygiene product lines. She has led multiple teams from project inception and funding, to planning and execution, proving herself an effective leader in multiple industries over the past decade.
Immediately prior to funding and incorporating Cleanbox in 2018, Hedrick served as Manager of Content and Digital Media for the think tank division of Li and Fung, a leading global consumer goods sourcing and manufacturing company based in Hong Kong. Her expertise includes conducting bespoke research and C-level reports within technology, retail, and cross-genre applications. Hedrick was one of four writers for the Fung Business Intelligence Center (FBIC). It was this immersion that inspired the business idea that would eventually lead to Cleanbox.
Hedrick spent her early career working with international aid organizations, managing multiple teams of 50-150 healthcare, construction, and emergency intervention professionals, and overseeing direct-aid projects in addition to fundraising in both the profit and non-profit sectors. In addition, she worked in the film industry raising funds, managing budgets for content creation and production.
Hedrick currently serves on various VR and AR Association committees including; Women’s, Healthcare, Enterprise, Safety & Security as well as the Advisory Board for the International Virtual Reality Healthcare Association, and recently contributed to a book “VR and Healthcare”, a compilation of thought leaders in XR, published by Robert Fine.
Hedrick has been named Analytics Insight Magazine’s “The 10 Most Impactful Women in Technology 2020.”
Reena Sangar is a passionate leader in the field of connected health. Often speaking mainstage on global platforms such as CES, HIMSS, Connected Health conference – Reena heads Ipsos’ Global Centre of Expertise in Connected Health and is passionate about developing global data assets which push the connected health field forward.
Reena has directed large strategic studies mapping connected health among payers, healthcare professionals and patients. Most recently, Reena led research amongst key decision makers on digital therapeutics and monetisation of patient-generated health data. Reena has a personal passion for ageing and technology; she has contributed to cross-industry alliances focussed on the “longevity challenge,” advised on early-stage technology concepts targeted to this group and conducted numerous studies on user experience and patient journey.
Reena has a Bsc in Psychology from University of Kent, she has worked for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK as a cognitive behavioural therapist before running a mental health charity for a UK non-profit organization. Reena is a Director for Ipsos based in London.
University of Copenhagen
My research focuses on targeting the functional deficits of individuals at ultra-high risk for psychosis by use of a cognitive remediation approach. The results from our ongoing trial, the FOCUS trial, will provide evidence on the effectiveness of comprehensive cognitive remediation on cognition, functional outcome, clinical symptoms, and the long-term perspective in preventing transition to psychosis in ultra-high risk individuals.
Yael Swerdlow is the CEO and Founder of Maestro Games, SPC. Yael is co-founder of the Women's Empowerment Foundation, a board member of the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles and Shelters for Israel, on the Advisory Board of First Amendment Voice, Solution Point+, and a consultant at USC's award-winning Game Pipe Labs. She serves on both the National Small Business Association's Leadership Council Advisory Board (NSBA) and the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC). Formerly, she was co-chair of the national leadership council of Games for Change.
A native Angeleno, Yael was a photojournalist based in Los Angeles for over twenty years, where she was a part of the LA Times Pulitzer Prize winning teams for the Los Angeles Riots in 1992 and the Northridge Earthquake of 1994. In summer of 1994, Yael went to Somalia, Southern Sudan, and Rwanda for International Medical Corps, to document the reestablishing of the medical infrastructure in those war-torn countries.
Dr. David C. Rhew is the Global Chief Medical Officer (CMO) & VP of Healthcare for Microsoft. He is Adjunct Professor at Stanford University; holds six U.S. technology patents that enable authoring, mapping, and integration of clinical decision support into electronic health records; and has been recognized as one of the 50 most influential clinical executives by Modern Healthcare.
Dr. Rhew received his Bachelors of Science degrees in computer science and cellular molecular biology from University of Michigan. He received his MD degree from Northwestern University and completed internal medicine residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He completed fellowships in health services research at Cedars-Sinai and infectious diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He has served as CMO and VP for Samsung; SVP and CMO at Zynx Health Incorporated; clinician/researcher at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and RAND; and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Rhew has served on the National Quality Forum’s Executive Committee for Consensus Standards and Approval, Chaired the Consumer Technology Association Health Technology Board, and sits on the Governing Committee for NESTcc (National Evaluation System for health Technology coordinating center), the medical device advisory group for the FDA, CMS, and NIH.
Joe Varrasso is the Europe Mixed Reality Partner Lead, building out an ecosystem of key industry partners helping to innovate with Mixed Reality in key industries. Specifically, Joe has also been focused on the Healthcare Industry and is a Founding Member of the Holomedicine Association.
Walter Post-graduated from USC and holds a Master’s Degree USM. He finished Ludwig v Beethoven’s 10th symphony, in collaboration with AI, which premiered in October 2021 in Bonn. His MYTHOS MOZART immersive experience will open in June 2022. He is the founder of HealthTunes Inc, an evidence-based streaming Pharmacy offering MusicMedicine Currently, Walter is working on multinational medical studies.
Harman Connected Services
Martin serves as Director Healthcare Europe at HARMAN since 2021. He has 20 years of experience in global healthcare markets, with a special focus in Digital and Connected Health. Before joining HARMAN, he has worked in diverse ecosystems, right from start-ups to well established multinational corporation, having managed business development, sales, and account and product management with increasing responsibility. He led a range of different research, development and market access projects.
Martin is a member of the managing board of the German Society for Biomedical Engineering in the VDE as well as chairing a federal expert group on mHealth.
Martin holds a Diploma in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. He majored in Biomedical Engineering.
Leading the product Challenge: A software tool for therapists to conduct avatar therapy for patients suffering from auditory hallucination.
Seeking to find purposeful and meaningful uses of VR/AR and attempting to push the technological future in a positive direction.
BA in Philosophy and Masters in Business. Founded Khora with Peter Fisher. We have produced +300 VR, AR, 360 productions for partners and facilitated +1000 workshops for institutions seeking to use VR/AR.
Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Milan, Italy
Intensive care nurse expert in extraterritorial emergencies and member of the vascular access team at Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Milan. Master in Vascular Access and Infusion Therapy. Clinical tutor at the University of Milan.
Howard’s prime passion is to apply digital technology to make people healthier, more productive, and happier. At Spatial, Howard is leading development of the Platform and tools to transform the patient experience, vitalize and humanize clinical spaces, and enable new, digital modalities of treatment. Howard is known as an industry leading pioneer in clinical uses of virtual reality to relieve acute and chronic pain, treat mental health and PTSD, and accelerate public health campaigns. Howard was Story Advisor to the 2021 Emmy Nominated VR documentary, Inside Covid-19.
James Markey, a technology entrepreneur, has overseen the international expansion and development of Virteasy Dental, which is now one of the world's leading haptic and VR dental trainers. It is deployed in more than 20 countries and has been used to train more than 10,000 students worldwide. James also co-founded the company UNISIM to make VR and haptic technologies affordable to all dental and medical institutions.
In November 2021, James and the team are launching Virteasy Dental V2 and a fully immersive Virteasy Dental VR - the world's first Next-Gen dental trainer being built on the Unreal Engine and is being supported by a MegaGrant from Epic Games.
Walter Greenleaf is a neuroscientist and a medical technology developer working at Stanford University. With over three decades of research and development experience, Walter is considered a leading authority in the field of digital medicine and medical virtual reality technology.
Walter’s current research focus is on developing computer supported clinical products, with a specific emphasis on applying virtual reality and digital health technology to address difficult problems in behavioral and physical medicine such as Post-traumatic Stress, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke, Addictions, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
His early research was on age-related changes in the neuroendocrine system and the effects on human behavior.
Walter is currently a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s MediaX Program, a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, and the Director of Technology Strategy at the University of Colorado National Mental Health Innovation Center. He previously served as the Director of the Mind Division, Stanford Center on Longevity, where his focus was on age-related changes in cognition.
Medical Product Development:
Walter has designed and developed numerous clinical systems over the last thirty-five years, including products in the fields of: surgical simulation, 3D medical visualization, telerehabilitation, clinical informatics, clinical decision support, point-of-care clinical data collection, ergonomic evaluation technology, automatic sleep-staging systems, psychophysiological assessment, and simulation-assisted rehabilitation technologies, as well as digital eHealth products for behavioral medicine.
Walter is the Co-founder and Board Chair for the International Virtual Reality Health Association (IVRHA).
He helped establish the California State University Center for Disability Solutions and the International Society of Virtual Rehabilitation (ISVR). Walter is a scientific advisor and grant reviewer for the U.S. Public Health Service, National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), NASA, and the U.S. Department of Education (DoED). He has served as the Principal Investigator for research projects funded by the NIH and by NASA.
Walter founded and served as CEO for Greenleaf Medical Systems, a medical product development company; InWorld Solutions, a company specializing in the therapeutic use of virtual worlds for behavioral health care; and Virtually Better, a company that develops virtual environments for the treatment of phobias, anxiety disorders, and PTSD. Walter was the founding Chief Science Officer for Pear Therapeutics.
Walter is an Associate Editor for three academic journals: JMIR Mental Health, the Journal of Virtual Reality in Medicine, and Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
Current Board Positions:
Walter serves on the Board of Directors for Brainstorm: The Stanford Laboratory for Brain Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship; for Cognitive Leap, a company that develops mental health solutions for children; and for Sine Wave, the developer of Sine Space, a multi-user online Unity 3D-based virtual world platform. He is currently the technology and neuroscience advisor to several early-stage medical product companies.
Walter earned a Doctorate in Neuro and Bio-Behavioral Sciences from the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he was awarded a NIMH Graduate Fellowship.
Hoag Memorial Hospital
Dr Louis is the Chief of Neurosurgery and Director of the Skull Base and Pituitary Tumor Program at Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Orange
County, California. His expertise includes endoscopic and minimally invasive treatment
of benign and malignant brain tumors, sellar and parasellar tumors and skull base tumors. Through the use of cutting-edge neuroimaging and neuro-navigational equipment, he utilizes the concept of keyhole neurosurgery, minimizing the damage to surrounding brain, vascular and soft tissue structures. Dr. Louis believes that most brain and skull base tumors can be resected through small openings or by utilizing naturally occurring orifices. This approach has been demonstrated to decrease post-operative pain, minimize neurologic complications and shorten the length of hospitalization, resulting in better outcomes for his patients.
Since 2015, Dr Louis has been involved with the development and implementation of Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies for pre-operative simulation and rehearsal and intraoperative navigation. The 3-D VR/AR platform is provided by Surgical Theater and was developed based on flight simulator technology from F-16 fighter jets. This technology allows the surgeons to literally rehearse complicated operations in virtual reality; affording them the opportunity to visualize critical anatomy and navigate potential pitfalls. The results are making the operations safer and more effective for patients. Under his guidance, Hoag Neuroscience Institute has become the highest volume center for Augmented Reality in Neurosurgery in the United States.
Dr Louis heads several projects to expand the applications of Mediated Reality Technology in Neurosciences. These include: virtual reality based meditation to help nurses with workplace related stress and compassion fatigue, virtual reality applications for neuro rehab and VR based therapies for decreasing opiate consumption and addiction. He is also part of the DSR-30, which is working with NASA on preparing the astronauts for the Mars Mission, scheduled in 2030. He has recently spoken as an invited guest lecturer at numerous national and international conferences including Becker’s, HIMSS, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s symposium on Digital Neurosurgery. His specialty is in coordinating uses of advanced technologies in neurosciences across the patient care continuum. Currently, he is overseeing the widespread implementation of VR and AR across several institutes at Hoag including Neurosciences, Cancer and Women’s Health.
Tech entrepreneur focused on digital health and mental well-being, TEDx speaker, and writer. Biologist, Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology, with International academic research experience in pharmacology, organic chemistry, and molecular biology in the fields of oncology and neuronal metabolism. CEO at Softcare Studios, a digital health startup specialized in developing virtual reality solutions for stress management and therapy education in patients undergoing medical treatments. A regular contributor to online magazines on the topics of emerging tech, healthcare, and startup ecosystems. Actively involved in education, communication, and consulting initiatives focused on innovation and social impact.
University of Crete / OramaVR
Assoc. Prof. George Papagiannakis is a computer scientist specialized in computer graphics systems, extended reality algorithms and geometric algebra computational models. He is currently associate professor at the Computer Science department of the University of Crete, Greece, associated faculty member at FORTH-ICS with the Human Computer Interaction Lab and visiting associate professor at the University of Geneva. His research and development interests are centered in the field of high-fidelity interactive computer graphics systems for human computer interaction, featuring embodied presence, psychomotor learning and gamification with simulated virtual humans in extended reality based on geometric algebra computational models. In 2016 he co-founded ORamaVR as a deep-technology spatial computing medical VR startup from FORTH, with the vision to accelerate world’s transition to medical virtual reality training.
I am a medical doctor specialist in gastroenterology with 19 years of international experience, I have worked in Spain, Portugal and in the Netherlands.
I have done a Master in eHealth ( LaSalle, Barcelona), and I am shifting my professional focus. I am hoping to combine gastroenterology and eHealth in the next phase of my career. I am an excellent team player, I enjoy chalenges and I am looking for my next project.
Yale School of Medicine
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Yale School of Medicine
Director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology
Director of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program
Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital
Asher M. Marks, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine and practicing pediatric hematologist/oncologist. He is the Director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology and also serves as the Director of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer program for Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.
While his clinical research frequently focuses on the care and treatment of children with brain tumors, his role as the director of the AYA program has led to the development of a virtual reality-based support group for adolescents and young adults with cancer. In collaboration with Foretell Reality, a clinical trial was launched in the fall of 2019, with very exciting early findings.
In addition, Dr. Marks serves on the Board of Directors for Child’s Play, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children in hospitals and domestic violence shelters, through the power of play.
Matt founded in 2003 the Orchard Media Events Group. Built Orchard into a world class agency, TV producer and Live Music promoter.
Drove Orchard’s research of immersive technologies from 2015. Through a pro-bono project at Velindre Cancer Hospital identified opportunities of VR in Healthcare.
Founded Rescape in 2018, which sells its solution, DR.VR®, into the NHS, Care Homes and Hospices supporting pain and anxiety relief. Two small funding rounds later, becoming a registered medical device in 2020 and immersive training solutions developed in healthcare and blue light services, Matthew and team are focused on building Rescape into a leading global provider of immersive technology solutions to healthcare providers, related businesses, and individuals.
For over 25 years, Fran Ayalasomayajula, executive healthcare strategist and technologist, has
served the health needs of populations around the world. Fran is Chief Executive Officer of RTL
Innovation. Prior to RTL, Fran was the Global Head of Digital Health Strategies at HP and has
worked on behalf of other major health and life science institutions, including the World Health
Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Bristol Myers Squibb. Fran is a
devoted volunteer and currently the President of Reach, a 501c3 global social impact organization,
and a board member of multiple industry leading organizations, including the Consumer Technology
Association Health Division and NHA of San Diego. Influencing global standards on health technology, Fran is the Americas representatives to the International Electrotechnical Commission
(IEC) Segment 12 on BioDigital Convergence.
Fran is also the author of several publications on a variety of digital health topics including best practices for the successful adoption of virtual reality in the clinical setting; approaches to globally scaling AI-enabled and connected health technology solutions; and the deployment of digital technology for the prevention of maternal mortality and morbidity.
Executive Director and Founder
Robert is the Executive Director and Founder of IVRHA (International Virtual Reality and Healthcare Association).
In 2009, Robert started Cool Blue Media by organizing the first social media conference on the east coast of the United States, leading to the publication of the text book, "The Big Book of Social Media Case Studies, Stories and Perspectives" and shortly thereafter the only printed magazine covering social media, The Social Media Monthly. In May 2016, he launched VRVoice.co, a content vertical exploring virtual reality in the enterprise. In 2017, Robert started the largest annual conference on virtual reality and healthcare with events taking place both in the US and Europe.
Prior to 2009, Robert was the Senior Director of Global Strategy and Development of IT at Conservation International (CI). Robert joined CI in 2000 to take responsibility for connecting all of CI’s forty field offices to the Internet with broadband connectivity. During his 10 year tenure, he built an international staff of 25 IT professionals.
Robert has over ten years of additional work experience as a systems and sales engineer with various companies including CMGI, Hughes Network Systems, ioWave and Raytheon. Robert has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Villanova University, a master’s degree in environmental science and public policy from Johns Hopkins University, and is ABD at George Mason University.
Co-presenting with Dr. Louise Birkedal Glenthøj
Co-presenting with Chloe Cangardel
Dr. Valentino Megale
Co-presenting with Gianuario Sanna
Dr. Gerardo Fernandez
Co-presenting with Dr. Cecile Tezenas du Montcel
Dr. Asher Marks
Co-presented with Dr. Kimberly Hieftje
Dr. David C. Rhew
Co-presenting with Joe Varrasso
Dr. Naila Siddiqui Kamal
Fran Ayalasomayajula, Reach International
Dr. Rob Louis, Hoag Memorial Hospital
Dr. Walter Greenleaf, Stanford University
Dr. Javier Mendoza, OdieslA
Dr. Stan Shepard, Health One Global
Yael Swerdlow, Maestro Games
If you have questions about tickets, sponsorship or anything else related to the event, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +1-202-684-6207.
The International Virtual Reality and Healthcare Association (IVRHA) is a member driven organization comprised of entities throughout the healthcare
ecosystem, including technology companies, teaching hospitals and universities, as well as healthcare providers and insurance companies. IVRHA’s
mission is to facilitate and support the growth of the virtual reality in health and life sciences. Visit: https://ivrha.org/
Reach is a 501c3 global social impact organization whose mission is to improve the over healthcare experience for both patients and providers. Visit: http://reachtl.org
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