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Biography - Albert "Skip" Rizzo, Ph.D.

Albert "Skip" Rizzo, Ph.D.

Albert "Skip" Rizzo, Ph.D.

Research Scientist and Research Professor
Institute for Creative Technologies and Dept. of Psychiatry/School of Gerontology 

University of Southern California


Office: (310) 301-5018 
Cell: (213) 610-4737 
Fax: (310) 574-5725


Albert "Skip" Rizzo received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Dr. Rizzo conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of Virtual Reality systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment and rehabilitation. This work spans the domains of psychological, cognitive and motor functioning in both healthy and clinical populations. In the psychological domain, his latest project has focused on the translation of the graphic assets from the Xbox game, Full Spectrum Warrior, into an exposure therapy application for combat-related PTSD with Iraq War veterans. Additionally, he is conducting research on VR applications that use 360 Degree Panoramic video for exposure therapy (social phobia), role-playing applications (anger management, etc.), and recently has used this technology to capture news scenes for future multimedia journalism applications. He is also working with a team that is creating artificially intelligent virtual patients that clinicians can use to practice skills required for challenging clinical interviews and diagnostic assessments (sexual assault, resistant patients, suicide lethality, etc.). His cognitive work has addressed the use of VR applications to test and train attention, memory, visuospatial abilities and executive function. In the motor domain, he has developed VR Game systems to address physical rehabilitation post stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury and for prosthetic use training. He is also investigating the use of VR for pain distraction at LA Children's Hospital and is currently designing game-based VR scenarios to address issues of concern with children having autistic spectrum disorder. His research also involves designing and evaluating 3D User Interface devices and interaction methods and he has created a graduate level Industrial and Systems Engineering course at USC entitled, "Human Factors and Integrated Media Systems". In the area of Gerontology, Dr. Rizzo has served as the program director of the USC Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and is currently conducting a VR study of visuospatial and wayfinding ability with persons with Alzheimer's. He is associate editor and on the editorial board of several VR and CyberPsychology journals, notably with MIT press, and has created his own Listserve (VRPSCYH). He served as General Chair for the IEEE VR2003 conference in Los Angeles and co-chaired this conference in 2004. He was also the Conference Chair of the 4th Annual Workshop on Virtual Rehabilitation on Catalina Island, Los Angeles in 2005. He will be chairing a military sponsored conference on "Technological Approaches for the Treatment of Wounded Warriors" in November, 2009. In his spare time, he plays rugby, listens to music and rides his motorcycle.

Selected publications:
Parsons, T.D., Bowerly, T., Buckwalter, J.G., & Rizzo, A.A. (in press). A controlled clinical comparison of attention performance in children with ADHD in a virtual reality classroom compared to standard neuropsychological methods. Child Neuropsychology.

Matheis, R., Schultheis, M.T., Tiersky, L.A. , DeLuca, J., Mills, S.R. & Rizzo, A.A. (in press). Is learning and memory different in a virtual environment? Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology.

Rizzo, A.A., Strickland, D. & Bouchard, S. (2004). Issues and Challenges for Using Virtual Environments in Telerehabilitation. Telemedicine Journal and e-Health, 10(2), 184-195.

Rizzo, A.A., Schultheis, M.T., Kerns, K. & Mateer, C. (2004). Analysis of Assets for Virtual Reality Applications in Neuropsychology. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 14(1/2), 207-239.