Our Guests

Walter Greenleaf, PhD

Walter is considered to be the leading authority on the application of Virtual Reality for behavioral therapy. Viewed as one of the fathers of Virtual Reality itself, he brings over 30 years of research, development and advocacy for the adoption of this technology, and its potential to improve healthcare from a variety of approaches. Walter graduated from Stanford in 1985 with a PhD in Bio-behavioral Neuroscience, and immediately began developing technology to facilitate cognitive rehabilitation. Since then, he has served as an advisor for many different companies, given keynote speeches across the world, and lead the charge in bringing better technology for cognitive behavioral therapy to all. If his background wasn’t enough for you to guess: Walter is a Certified Geek. You can find Pokemon Cards, Comic Books and a substantial library of classic Science Fiction novels in his Silicon Valley home.

Click Here to see some of Walter’s published research.

Walter’s Current Work:

Medical VR/AR Expert: Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab

Director of Technology Strategy: National Mental Health Innovation Center

Chief Science Officer: Pear Therapeutics

Senior Vice President of Strategic and Corporate Affairs: Mindmaze

Advisory Board Member: Sine Wave Entertainment, MyndVR, Ellipsis Health, Altoida, Inc. ORamaVR, BehaVR

You can find Walter on Twitter and LinkedIn. 

Dama Dipayana

An innovator through and through, Dama is the definition of a Renaissance Woman: Snowboarding instructor, filmmaker, and years of experience in the startup world.

Dama is currently developing software to help children with behavioral disorders learn skills they need to manage them in collaboration with their parents. Manatee  uses a combination of AI and gamification to provide families with a strategy work together.

Before she began her work on Manatee, she ran a production company in Los Angeles, Be Frank. She produced videos that call on men to have conversations about sexual assault, gender inequality and pornography.

Elizabeth McMahon, PhD

After more than 30 years at Kaiser Permanante, Elizabeth opened her own private practice in San Francisco.She specializes in the treatment of anxiety, phobias, and Positive Psychology Training.

As one of the first psychologists to implement Virtual Reality in her therapy practice, she’s a pioneer in this innovative new treatment method.

Noah Robinson

As a graduate student in the Hollon Research Group at Vanderbilt University, 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.

Noah has founded the Very Real Help LLC, a group designed to promote the use of VR for behavioral health.

Noah plays the trumpet and trombone, and enjoys hanging out with his friends in VRChat, as well as his parents, who he convinced to buy a headset.

You can find Noah on Twitter, or contact him at noah@veryrealhelp.com

Representative 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.

Some of her signature work includes:

  • Resisting the Department of Corrections’ requests for ever more public and private prison beds [HB 18-1410]

  • Obtaining greater funding to address the needs of crime victims, especially men and people of color. [HB 18-1409]

  • Reauthorizing the Colorado Civil Rights Division and Commission despite enormous pressure to weaken it [Denver Post]

  • Restricting fees for new solar panel installations to reduce barriers to clean energy. [17-179]

  • Indefinitely extending the ‘Child Mental Health Treatment Act.’ [HB 18-1094]

  • Protecting Coloradans’ personal property by reigning in asset forfeiture [9 News]

  • Improving educational opportunities for children and adults in Colorado prisons [18-1437]

  • Creating a tax return check off for Urban Peak – Colorado’s leading homeless youth service agency – which raised over $100,000 in 2018. [HB 17-1055]

In addition to winning reelection in 2018, Herod championed a ballot initiative – Caring 4 Denver – that will raise $45 million annually for mental health and substance abuse treatment and services for children and adults in Denver. The initiative passed overwhelmingly with nearly 70% support from Denver voters and will create the largest mental health foundation in the state.

Herod cares a great deal about the future of Colorado’s young people. While a student at CU Boulder, she co-founded New Era Colorado – the state’s leading organization focused on the engagement of young people – with Congressman Joe Neguse, Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, and Lisa Kaufmann, now Chief of Staff for Governor Polis. She has served as a mentor for high school students, delivered commencement remarks, and is a frequent guest at high school and college campuses.

Herod is dedicated to serving the community, having served on multiple organizations, boards and commissions, including serving as Governor Ritter’s appointee to the Judicial Performance Commission, a mayoral appointee to Denver’s Cultural Affairs Commission, the Board of Directors for Urban Peak – Colorado’s leading homeless youth service agency, and President of Colorado Black Women for Political Action. Herod also served as President Obama’s Deputy Political Director in Colorado during his 2012 Reelection Campaign.