In this episode, Matt and Debbie sit down with our partners from across the pond, Barnaby Perks and Stephanie Ruskin of Oxford VR.
In 2015, Matt Vogl co-founded the National Mental Health Innovation Center (NMHIC). He now serves as Executive Director of NMHIC at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, where he leads a team to better treat and prevent mental illness. Previously, Matt was the Deputy Director of the University of Colorado Depression Center. He earned a BA from Marquette University and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Minnesota. Matt was a standup comic for 12 years and is a diehard St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. He has two sons with his amazing wife.
Throughout his career, Rick has been driven by the power of story and childhood play, both for children and the child in the heart of every adult. Rick spent over 20 years with DreamWorks Animation, most recently as Chief Creative of franchise development, working on such movies as Trolls, How To Train Your Dragon, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. Winner of Annie and Nickelodeon Kids Choice awards and Toy of the Year, Rick is currently developing film and new-media content for Gen Z kids of today and their millennial parents. Author of One Small Step, a personal story of family recovery from the effects of alcoholism and suicide, Rick resides in Pasadena, CA with his family and their schnoodle dog Winston.
Debbie has spent the past decade understanding the intersection of technology in relation to mental health. As a rogue psychologist, her career has included working in both academia and start-ups. She currently leads mental health technology operations as the Director of Digital Mental Health here at the National Mental Health Innovation Center. She’s a digital medicine enthusiast, avid podcast listener and obsessed with a good cup of coffee. She lives in Colorado and with her husband and dog, Walter.”
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Our podcast welcomes experts in Digital Medicine, Community Leaders, Executives and many more of the best and brightest in the exciting world of mental health
Walter Greenleaf, PhD
Dama has over 10 years of tech start-up experience and has built and lead large teams globally (she has lived in 9 countries). She grew up with an autistic brother and father and is passionate about children’s mental health. She is the CEO of Manatee, which develops software focused on meeting the needs of children with behavioral disorders. She also runs a video production company in LA.
Elizabeth McMahon, PhD
Elizabeth is a psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area. After over 30 years working with Kaiser Permanente, she opened a private practice where she focuses on the treatment of anxiety and phobias. Elizabeth is one of the very few psychologists using Virtual Reality to help her patients overcome their fears. She also sings opera!
Rep. Leslie Herod
Representative Leslie Herod (HD-8) was elected in 2016 as the first LGBTQ African American in the General Assembly, while receiving the highest number of votes of any candidate running in a contested election. She serves as the Chair of the House Finance Committee, Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Vice Chair of the Committee on Legal Services. Rep. Herod also chairs the Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus and the Arts Caucus.
In her first term as a state representative, Herod directed over $18 million in the state’s budget and sent 20 bills to the Governor’s desk, marshaling through numerous pieces of legislation addressing criminal justice reform, mental health & substance abuse, renewable energy, youth homelessness, and civil rights protections. Her legislative agenda underscores her commitment to improving the lives of all Coloradans, especially those caught in the cycle of poverty or mired in the criminal justice system.
As a graduate student in the Hollon Research Group, Noah is exploring how virtual reality can be used to treat addiction. He is using virtual reality at an in-patient drug rehabilitation center for patients with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Noah eventually plans to conduct clinical research through Internet-based virtual reality treatments.
Over the past year he has explored how virtual reality can be used to help regulate the emotions of patients at an in-patient rehabilitation center. He has observed surprising results, with patients reporting that recreational VR significantly decreases negative affect and increases positive affect for a period of hours or days. Noah recently received a NSF I-CORPS grant to travel the country and interview clinicians, providers, and patients on the potential barriers to implementing a VR-based addiction treatment solution.
Justin grew up in a small town in Iowa. Small, like 900 people small. Justin grew up passionate about golf. He played golf in college and played professionally for a short time in Phoenix. After struggling with his own mental health for the majority of his life, he was fortunate to be invited to volunteer. Volunteering proved to be a powerful tool for him to build connection and purpose. The experience was a powerful turning point as he started to use serving others as a tool to improve his own mental wellness. This experience led to the founding of Project Helping, a nonprofit dedicated to improving mental wellness through volunteering. Project Helping started 5 years ago and has now created and led over 1200 volunteer experiences impacting the mental wellness of over 8,000 volunteers.