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When Elham Ebrahimi, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, peers through a virtual reality visor, she sees more than a game on a digital screen. She sees a technological tool with the potential to revolutionize healthcare training and treatments.

“Everyone wants to change the world or at least have some positive impact on it,” Ebrahimi said. “My dream became tangible when I was able to test my first virtual reality simulation. From that day, I did not stop doing it, because I knew you could improve people’s lives using virtual reality.”

Her current research projects demonstrate what she means. Ebrahimi is collaborating with New Hanover Regional Medical Center on a virtual reality experience designed to prepare children for surgery. She also is working with Lindsey Shroeder, an assistant professor in the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences, to perfect a virtual reality simulation for athletic trainers to enhance their skill in determining heat illness, such as heat exhaustion or the more severe condition of heat stroke. The project includes active involvement from an undergraduate researcher, Jordan Argueta ’19, a senior majoring in computer science.

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Originally published Feb. 26, 2019.