hero image
Gianluca De Leo, PhD - Augusta University. Augusta, GA, US

Gianluca De Leo, PhD

Chair of the Department of Health Management, Economics and Policy | Augusta University


Dr. Gianluca De Leo is a leading expert on using technology, such as virtual reality and e-health, in public health and health care.





loading image


Researchers study use of virtual reality for rehabilitation Clinical and Digital Health Sciences researchers awarded prestigious grant Health Tech Startup Expo to help small businesses in Augusta




De Leo is the chair of the Department of Health Management, Economics and Policy in Augusta University's School of Public Health. He has a background in bioengineering and focuses his research on the use of innovative technology to improve public health. He has designed and led the development of several e-heath systems such as an automated telephone call center for the education and monitoring of patients with diabetes, a game-based virtual environment for helping children with cerebral palsy to walk on a treadmill, and a smart phone for increasing the communication skills of children with severe autism. His research interests include innovative virtual reality systems, health care mobile technologies, simulation tools, gaming technologies, and augmentative and alternative communication systems.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Health Informatics


Virtual Reality

Public Health


Health Technology

Augmented Reality


Education (3)

University of Genoa (Italy): PhD, Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering

University of Genoa (Italy): MS, Electronic Engineering

Saint Louis University: MBA, Business Administration

Media Appearances (2)

Clinical and Digital Health awarded $550,000 grant to help spark public health innovation

Jagwire  online


Researchers at the Clinical and Digital Health Sciences Department at Augusta University, in collaboration with theClubhou.se, received a prestigious grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to bring innovation to public health.

view more

Health tech event to inspire new health technology startup ventures in Augusta

Jagwire  online


People with big ideas in health technology who want to start their own business can learn the skills during the Health Tech Startup Expo on Jan. 27 at Augusta University.

view more

Articles (8)

Respiratory Therapy Faculty Knowledge of and Attitudes Toward Interprofessional Education

Respiratory Care

2017 Interprofessional education (IPE) improves collaboration and patient care through joint education between health professions. Respiratory therapy (RT) faculty were surveyed to evaluate their knowledge and attitudes toward IPE. We report current opportunities for IPE from faculty and compare responses from associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree programs and profit versus nonprofit institutions.

view more

Epidemiology of Pediatric Prehospital basic Life Support Care in the United States

Prehospital Emergency Care

2015 Children have unique medical needs compared to adults. Emergency medical services personnel need proper equipment and training to care for children. The purpose of this study is to characterize emergency medical services pediatric basic life support to help better understand the needs of children transported by ambulance.

view more

Evidence-Based Practice for Teachers of Children With Autism: A Dynamic Approach

Intervention in School and Clinic

2015 Evidence-based practice related to autism research is a controversial topic. Governmental entities and national agencies are defining evidence-based practice as a specific set of interventions that educators should implement; however, large-scale efforts to generalize autism research, which are often single-subject case designs, may be a setback in the field. Children on the autism spectrum can experience a very broad range of difficulties with social interactions, managing behaviors, and communicating; similarly, they may experience a wide range of comorbidities. In addition, different environmental considerations come into play for each child. Such challenges to generalizing research are important to acknowledge so that research will be used to inform, not to dictate, the interventions that educators select. The process of identifying and implementing evidence-based practices for children with autism spectrum disorders is a dynamic one that requires educators to adapt interventions to meet students’ individual needs.

view more

An update on out-of-hospital airway management practices in the United States


2014 We characterized out-of-hospital airway management interventions, outcomes, and complications using the 2012 NEMSIS Public-Release Research Data Set containing almost 20 million Emergency Medical Services activations from 40 states and two territories. We compared the outcomes with a previous study that used 2008 NEMSIS data containing 16 states with 4 million EMS activations.

view more

Measuring Sense of Presence and User Characteristics to Predict Effective Training in an Online Simulated Virtual Environment

Simulation in Health Care: The Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare

2013 Virtual-reality solutions have successfully been used to train distributed teams. This study aimed to investigate the correlation between user characteristics and sense of presence in an online virtual-reality environment where distributed teams are trained. A greater sense of presence has the potential to make training in the virtual environment more effective, leading to the formation of teams that perform better in a real environment. Being able to identify, before starting online training, those user characteristics that are predictors of a greater sense of presence can lead to the selection of trainees who would benefit most from the online simulated training.

view more

Supporting autobiographical memory in patients with Alzheimer's disease using smart phones

Applied Neuropsychology

2011 An estimated 5.1 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease (AD). A symptom of AD is the gradual loss of autobiographical memory. Support services have been shown to slow such loss, thereby improving the quality of life of patients and their caregivers. In this case study, a subject in Stage 4 of AD on the Functional Assessment Staging (FAST) scale carried a smart phone with a lanyard for 4 weeks. The smart phone was programmed to take pictures at 5-minute intervals for 12 hours during the day. The pictures were collected, combined in a video slide show, saved to a DVD, and mailed to the subject on a weekly basis. The subject and his caregiver had to view the DVD. In order to evaluate the subject's memory before and after viewing the DVD, a test concerning the most important events of the week was developed. The subject and his caregiver had to answer a satisfaction questionnaire as well. The results of this case study confirmed that the DVD helped the subject recall recent events significantly better and that carrying the smart phone was not considered intrusive to daily routines. This manuscript illustrates how smart phone technology can assist in exercising autobiographical memory.

view more

Information Systems and Healthcare XXXV: Health Informatics Forums for Health Information Systems Scholars

Communications of the Association for Information Systems

2010 The use of technology in health care settings is an area of increasing interest to information systems researchers. An awareness of journals and conferences that focus on this innately interdisciplinary field is necessary if researchers in related domains, such as information systems, intend to connect methodologies, insights, and perspectives to advance health IT knowledge. This study fills a void in the literature by providing an initial peer ranking of dedicated health informatics journals and related conferences as guidance for those interested in learning more about and/or publishing in this field. Results indicate that there are at least forty-five journals that researchers may want to consider in conducting health informatics work.

view more

A Smart-Phone Application and a Companion Website for the Improvement of the Communication Skills of Children with Autism: Clinical Rationale, Technical Development and Preliminary Results

Journal of Medical Systems

2009 Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Today, one in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism. Lack of social interaction and problems with communication are the main characteristics displayed by children with ASD. The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a communication system where children exchange visual symbols as a form of communication. The visual symbols are laminated pictures stored in a binder. We have designed, developed and are currently testing a software application, called PixTalk which works on any Windows Mobile Smart-phone. Teachers and caregivers can access a web site and select from an online library the images to be downloaded on to the Smart-phone. Children can browse and select images to express their intentions, desires, and emotions using PixTalk. Case study results indicate that PixTalk can be used as part of ongoing therapy.

view more