Keynote Speaker
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Kevin Spencer, MEd
The Healing of Magic Therapy for Sedation

Kevin Spencer is an award-winning performing artist who, for more than 25 years, toured the world with one of the largest and most successful theatrical illusion productions in the U.S., with accolades as  2009 International Illusionists of the Year, 2015 International Magicians of the Year, and six-time recipient of Performing Arts Entertainers of the Year

At the pinnacle of his career, Spencer stepped away from the stage and into classrooms and hospitals.

He is a subject matter expert and Fulbright Specialist on arts integration for special populations for the U.S. Department of State, and an Approved Provider of Continuing Education for the American Occupational Therapy Association.

In 2016, he produced a short documentary – Powerful Medicine: Simply Magic– that has earned 18 international film festival awards.

His program, Healing of Magic™ or Magic Therapy™ uses research based protocols of simple magic tricks as a fun and motivating way for patients to reach therapeutic goals and improve cognitive and motor skills.

Spencer’s magic trick-based work has been featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Today, the concepts of the magic therapy are being used in more than 2,000 hospitals and rehab centers in over 30 countries around the world. 
Guest Speaker
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Special Invited Speaker
Hunter Hoffman, PhD

Immersive Virtual Reality to Alleviate Pain and Anxiety

Hunter Hoffman, PhD is Director of the Virtual Reality Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. He conducted pre-graduate human memory and perception research at Princeton University. An early pioneer of Virtual Reality therapy, Hoffman originated the technique of using virtual reality distraction to reduce the pain experienced by burned children during painful medical procedures. Hoffman designed the first VR world (SnowWorld) for pain control and designed one the first VR exposure therapy worlds, SpiderWorld.

Hoffman’s research has appeared on a number of scientific news stories: PBS News Hour, BBC, Scientific American Frontiers, Smithsonian Magazine, Scientific American Magazine, and Scientific American Mind. He was identified by as one of the Fast 50 people most likely to influence the next 10 years.

Dr. Hoffman was most recently featured in the January 2020 National Geographic Magazine lead article dedicated to the science of pain. A series of images in the article features an orthopedic trauma surgeon treating a patient with several broken bones. The patient is watching a virtual reality game, SnowWorld (developed by Hoffman), while the surgeon is removing stabilizing pins to test virtual reality's effectiveness at easing pain. The patient reported that the game was a pleasant distraction and reduced his discomfort. This was part of a study to help determine if virtual reality can decrease the need for general anesthesia, reducing risk and cost.