Dr. Brandon Birckhead Project Scientist
Virtual Reality Clinical Trials
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Brandon Birckhead

Brandon Birckhead, MD, is a project scientist working on VR clinical trials at Cedars-Sinai.  Currently, he is running the Digital Pain Reduction Kit study which is assessing the use of virtual reality therapy in those with musculoskeletal injury for 60 days. This will be one of the largest randomized control trials within the VR pain reduction research. He is also the co-director of the Virtual Medicine Conference along with Dr. Brennan Spiegel the founder of the event. One of the largest immersive technology conferences focused specifically on its use in healthcare.

He began his work with therapeutic virtual reality by helping providers in head restricted clinical settings, such as dentistry, use the technology for pain and anxiety relief. He then designed a randomized study that was conducted at Mayo Clinic to examine the effect of low-cost VR (google cardboard) on pain using the cold pressor test.

In regards to VR education, he has collaborated with radiation oncologists at Moffitt Cancer Center to assess its use in medical education. While at the Medical College of Wisconsin he designed a VR breast cancer education program to help patients understand radiation treatment and why it is of use for their cancer. He then designed a pilot study which has garnered 40K of funding from the NCI.

Before coming to Cedars-Sinai he worked with Dr. Brennan Spiegel and a cohort of international therapeutic VR experts, to create guidelines for future clinical trials within the field. This committee of researchers is called the VR-CORE (Virtual Reality – Clinical Outcomes Research Experts). He is the first author of the paper summarizing the recommendation from the group. Brandon received his medical degree from Mayo Medical School.


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