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Patrick Bordnick - Tulane University. New Orleans, LA, US

Patrick Bordnick

Dean, Tulane University School of Social Work | Tulane University


Bordnick is a pioneer in the use of virtual reality for substance abuse assessment and intervention.






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How can virtual reality help us deal with reality? | Patrick Bordnick | TEDxHouston Virtual Reality Applications Treat Addiction and Autism




Currently, Bordnick is the dean of the Tulane University School of Social Work. Bordnick has over 20 years of experience in clinical and laboratory research on cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, amphetamine, heroin, and nicotine addiction. Research interest areas include clinical medication trials, treatment development, human laboratory studies, behavioral disorders, health/behavioral health, virtual reality and mobile data collection. Bordnick has been the principal investigator on a NIH/NIDA R24 Center grant. In 2004, he received an international award for outstanding scientific merit in VR drug abuse research from the Canada Chair in Cyber Psychology.

Bordnick is a pioneer in the use of virtual reality for substance abuse assessment and intervention. From 2007 to 2016, Bordnick was the director of the Virtual Reality Clinical Research Lab (VRCRL) at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. The VRCRL under Dr. Bordnick’s direction developed virtual environments for alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, heroin and other behavioral disorders. The hallmark of his work has led to improvements in teaching, research therapies and integrated healthcare.

Bordnick envisions a world where humans interact seamlessly with technology to improve teaching, research, therapy and aid in knowledge building. Using technology to solve real-world problems has been the hallmark of his work. VRCRL Projects included: virtual reality systems for assessing drug use triggers and craving, virtual reality treatment software for nicotine and alcohol dependence, virtual reality programs for studying drug use contexts and clinical teaching systems based on artificial intelligence platforms.

Areas of Expertise (9)

Social Work

Behavioral Health

Addiction & Recovery

Mental Health



Virtual Reality



Accomplishments (3)

Visionary Award at the Recovery Research Awards and Summit, Washington DC


Not Impossible Award for Blue Cross Blue Shield Faces of Fearless Healthcare Innovation Award


Canadian Chair in Cyber Psychology Research, New Investigator Award for Scientific Merit


Education (3)

University of Georgia: Ph.D.

University of Michigan: M.S.W.

University of South Florida: M.P.H.

Media Appearances (3)

Using VR to beat addiction

Wink News  


“The therapist can accompany you while you’re in a bar or a party setting and teach you skills in that therapy session,” said Patrick Bordnick, PhD, MPH, Dean of Tulane University School of Social Work...

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Using Virtual Reality to Beat Addiction



“The therapist can accompany you while you’re in a bar or a party setting and teach you skills in that therapy session,” said Dr. Patrick Bordnick, Dean of Tulane University School of Social Work...

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This is how virtual reality treats mental health



“We have the [right] equipment,” says Dr. Patrick Bordnick, a Tulane University professor who studies VR therapy for addiction. ”That was a huge breakthrough: getting something that works and is affordable.”...

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Articles (3)

Development and Testing of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Active Duty Service Members Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan

Military Medicine

W Deal, D Oliver, A Baird, PS Bordnick, et al.

2012 This study was an open-label, single-group, treatment-development project aimed at developing and testing a method for applying virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) to active duty service members diagnosed with combat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Forty-two service members with PTSD were enrolled, and 20 participants completed treatment. The PTSD Checklist-Military version, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 for depression, and the Beck Anxiety Inventory were used as outcome measures. Of those who completed post-treatment assessment, 75% had experienced at least a 50% reduction in PTSD symptoms and no longer met DSM-IV criteria for PTSD at post treatment...

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Reactivity to Cannabis Cues in Virtual Reality Environments

Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

PS Bordnick, HL Copp, A Traylor, et al.

2011 Virtual reality (VR) cue environments have been developed and successfully tested in nicotine, cocaine, and alcohol abusers. Aims in the current article include the development and testing of a novel VR cannabis cue reactivity assessment system. It was hypothesized that subjective craving levels and attention to cannabis cues would be higher in VR environments with cannabis cues compared to VR neutral environments. Twenty nontreatment-seeking current cannabis smokers participated in the VR cue trial...

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A Preliminary Investigation of the Effectiveness of Attachment Therapy for Adopted Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder

Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

Jane S. Wimmer,M. Elizabeth Vonk, Patrick Bordnick

2009 The purpose of this preliminary investigation was to examine the effectiveness of attachment therapy for adopted children diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Although attachment therapy is widely utilized in the practice community, outcomes of such therapy have not been well documented. In this study a pretest–posttest one-group design was used with a sample of 24 adopted children who received attachment therapy from trained, licensed therapists...

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