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KVC Institute Showcases Virtual Reality at United Nations Conference

virtual reality
Shawn Gross


The KVC Institute for Health Systems Innovation’s Technology Innovation Officer, Shawn Gross, will present a workshop entitled, “Virtual Reality in Behavioral Health and Education for Displaced Populations” at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Mobile Learning Week Conference on March 22 in Paris, France. Gross will demonstrate new virtual reality (VR) applications for delegates from over 30 countries to show how this new technology can support people’s mental and behavioral health.

The KVC Institute, which is the research, training and consultation arm of KVC Health Systems, is one of the first behavioral healthcare providers to evaluate the use of virtual reality for children and teens affected by trauma, depression and anxiety. KVC has used VR in treatment sessions at KVC Prairie Ridge Children’s Psychiatric Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas to allow individuals to practice mindfulness and decrease anxiety.

James Roberson, KVC Hospitals


“Immediately we could see that using VR in therapy created joy and excitement, which as a clinician is amazing to see in trauma focused treatment,” said James Roberson, Vice President of Program Services at KVC Hospitals. “After the novelty began to decrease we were even more excited to see the calm and real curiosity the VR experience provides. Children are showing us new ways to use VR everyday.”

The VR sessions used in behavioral treatment facilitate new approaches to meditation, exploration of different environments and landscapes, and art and expression therapy. Youth can create personalized pathways to allow them to visit a place in virtual reality where they feel safe or happy. This technology creates a sense of engagement that is far stronger than other treatment modalities. Through treatments, the KVC Institute determined that VR has the potential to enhance clinical practices through role-playing, sensory integration, executive function, socialization, decision-making, and pleasant imagery.

Sue Lohrbach, Executive Director of the KVC Institute for Health Systems Innovation


“VR technology takes down the walls of traditional ways of learning and opens a world of creative possibilities. The KVC Institute aims to unleash that creativity and maximize human potential,” said Sue Lohrbach, Executive Director of the KVC Institute.

During the UNSECO workshop, attendees will learn about virtual and augmented reality and experience some of the applications available for education and behavioral health. The annual UNSECO conference explores how technology and education intersect to develop opportunities for displaced people and brings experts from across the globe to share practices and ideas to help those affected by crisis, displaced by emergencies and refugees.

To learn more about the use of virtual reality or the KVC Institute, visit