Watch ‘Experiencing Racism in VR’ at TEDxRVA

Psychologist Courtney D. Cogburn focuses her work on how racism contributes to racial inequalities in health. With support from a Magic Grant through the Brown Institute, Courtney and a team of researchers at Columbia and Stanford University have been using virtual reality to help people experience the complexities of racism to not only encourage them to empathize, but to more importantly motivate them to think and act differently.

Her talk discusses using virtual reality as a tool for creating empathy to heal social divides This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Dr. Cogburn is an assistant professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work, and faculty of the Columbia Population Research Center where she directs the Cogburn Research Group. Through her research, Dr. Cogburn explores innovative approaches to better understand and address the role of racism in producing racial inequities in health. This includes leveraging the power of virtual reality to create immersive, visceral experiences with racism, examining the effects of exposure to media-based racism on acute stress responses, and using “big data” to track the prevalence of media-based racism and associations with population health. Dr. Cogburn completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University, received her Ph.D. in Education and Psychology, as well as her Master’s of Social Work, from the University of Michigan, and earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia.