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Virtual Reality (VR) in Healthcare

Virtual Reality (VR) is an emerging technology that has immense potential in healthcare applications. The VR in healthcare group comprises of researchers and educators at CNHP who use the latest VR/AR/XR technologies to further their research or teaching endeavors. Some of our current and past activities are listed here.

VR Reflections 

Applications, implications and theory of change 

Project members: Girija Kaimal (PI), Arun Ramakrishnan, Marygrace Berberian, Natalie R. Carlton, Abby Dougherty

Virtual reality therapies have been used in physical rehabilitation as well as in psychological therapies to reduce phobias and delusions. The applicability of virtual reality tools have not however been examined adequately in the creative arts therapies. In this study, we are exploring how tools using virtual reality technology could be applicable to art therapy, including, potential effectiveness of these creative and virtual digital media to enhance psychological health and well-being through creativity, interactivity, and problem solving in an immersive environment.
The study is funded by the Drexel University Faculty Summer Research Award. This project is currently ongoing. Please contact for more information. 
Shown below are a few sample artworks created by our participants. Click on these thumbnails to open the full artwork. (opens in a new window)

VR Artwork
VR Artwork VR Artwork VR Artwork VR Artwork VR Artwork 


Project members: Arun Ramakrishnan, Natalie R. Carlton

The Digital International Creative Arts Therapies Symposium (DICATS) is a unique 24-hour multi-site web-based peer-reviewed symposium that was held in Febryary 23, 2019. DICATS aims to bring together practitioners in the fields of arts and arts therapies around the world to learn about usages of digital devices, new media, and immersive tools for therapeutic and educational interventions. DICATS will expand existing arts therapies’ education and therapy practices, showcase innovative work, and promote interdisciplinary collaborations and conversations across the globe.

To learn more and to sign-up for the conference archive, please visit the conference website.

Mindfulness in Virtual Reality

Project members: Abby Dougherty, Arun Ramakrishnan

There is growing evidence that mindfulness practices can have a positive therapeutic impact on clinical and nonclinical populations. This exploratory interpretative phenomenological study seeks to explore the use of mindfulness in virtual reality (VR) for the development of mindfulness.  The aims of the study are to gather data on the following:

  • How is mindfulness practice experienced within VR
  • To gather faculty and student responses (including VR related themes that have been used in other studies to identify and improve specific aspects of the VR experience)
  • Make recommendations for pedagogy and promoting the health and well-being for nursing and health professions students and faculty.

The study is funded by the Drexel University, Dean’s Rapid Response Grant. This project is currently ongoing. Please contact for more information.