Albert Skip Rizzo, PhD
Albert “Skip” Rizzo is a Clinical and Neuro- Psychologist and Director of the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies Medical VR Lab. He is also a research professor in both the USC Department of Psychiatry and in the School of Gerontology. Skip conducts research on the design, development, and evaluation of VR systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation.
In the psychological domain, Skip has directed the development/implementation of the Virtual Iraq/Afghanistan VR exposure therapy system for combat-related PTSD and is involved in translating these simulation assets for PTSD assessment and prevention (stress resilience). His cognitive work has addressed the use of VR applications to test and train cognitive functioning. In the motor domain, he develops VR game-based applications to promote rehabilitation in persons with CNS dysfunction (e.g., stroke and TBI). He is also involved in the creation of artificially intelligent virtual human patients for clinical training and for creating online virtual human healthcare guides for breaking down barriers to care in psychological health and TBI.
In 2010, Skip received the American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Practice of Trauma Psychology for his R&D work on VR exposure therapy for PTS. In 2015, he received the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics “Pioneer in Medicine” award. He also received the 2019 American Psychological Association Society for Military Psychology Presidential Citation for his trauma work and was awarded the 2020 International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Innovation Award. He recently received the 2023 IEEE Computer Society Virtual Reality Lifetime Achievement Award.
In his spare time, Skip Rizzo plays rugby, listens to music, rides his motorcycle, and thinks about new ways that VR can have a positive impact on clinical care by dragging the field of psychology, “kickin’ and screamin’,” into the 21st century.
Financial Disclosures: Albert Rizzo is an employee of University of Southern California. He is a consultant and scientific advisor for a variety of technology-based companies including Penumbra, UbiquityVX, Cognitive Leap, FireflyVR, MyndVR, VirtuLeap, and Innerworld. He receives a speaking honorarium from Leading Edge Seminars Inc.