Public Engagement

  • Faculty

    Profile:

    Virgil Wong creates new technologies to transform human health. He founded Medical Avatar LLC, a mobile health company that makes personalized 3-D digital anatomical bodies to visualize health information in the past, present, and future. As a researcher in medical cognition and intelligent technologies at Columbia University, he studied how time travel simulations of patients' bodies can increase engagement, motivate disease prevention, and improve chronic disease management. Since 2000, he has also been teaching photography, film, and interactive media as a part-time Assistant Professor in The New School's Masters in Media Studies Program. Professor Wong received the Faculty Mentor Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2005.
     
    As a visual artist working with concepts in medicine and technology, Professor Wong has exhibited interactive installations, films, paintings, drawings, and prints in galleries and museums around the world – including the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, Taiwan; and Deitch Projects in New York City. He produced and co-directed Murmur, a cardiovascular dreamscape film that premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. In the previous year, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for an art and medicine exhibition called Corporeal Landscape.
     
    In 1996, Professor Wong founded the Web and Multimedia division at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College. Over 15 years, he defined the Internet strategy for both institutions based on one central principle: informed and engaged patients will help reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve outcomes. As co-chair of Weill Cornell's Clinical & Translational Research Science Center (CTSC) Cross-Institutional Web Portal Working Group, Professor Wong supported researchers in their lifesaving efforts to rapidly develop new treatments for patients in need.
     
    Professor Wong also works as head of digital experience and creative at Element, a company that transforms organizations into digital innovators. His clients include Anthem, City of Hope (part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network), and Federated Insurance.

    Degrees Held:

    PhD (pending)
    Columbia University
    Teachers College, Cognitive Studies in Education and Intelligent Technologies

    MFA
    Transart Institute
    Danube University, New Media

    BFA
    Rhode Island School of Design
    European Honors Program, Illustration

    Recent Publications:

    2018
    “Ease and Ability” exhibition (title is derived by removing the prefix "dis-" from disease and disability to bring a positive perspective to these conditions) in Honolulu, HI, curated by Kóan Jeff Baysa, M.D.
     
    2017
    “Arts and the Brain” at the Strathmore Fine Arts mansion in North Bethesda, MD.
     
    2014
    “Medical Avatar” at The Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA, and the Perspective Gallery of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, curated by Robin Boucher.
     
    2013
    “Pulse: Art and Medicine, A Not-So-Clinical Study of Medicine as Inspiration for Art, Creative Processes and Art Forms” at Strathmore Fine Arts in North Bethesda, MD, curated by Harriet Lesser.
     
    2012
    “Seeing Ourselves,” exhibition on art and neuroscience at the Center for Photography and the Moving Image in New York, NY, curated by Kóan Jeff Baysa, M.D.
     
    2012
    “Portrait of the Artists with Black Glasses" at the Not Festival exhibition at the Dansehallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark, curated by Luis Lara Malvacias.
     
    2011
    “Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) 18” in Newport Beach, California, curated by Kóan Jeff Baysa, M.D.
     
    2010
    “ADHD (Art Diagnostics and Healing Devices)” at the JAUS Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, curated by Kóan Jeff Baysa, M.D.
     
    2009
    “2009 Cyberfest: Sonic Self” at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, curated by Anna Frants and Kóan Jeff Baysa, M.D.
     
    2009
    “Cardiorobonanoplasty: Billions of Robots Heal the Human Heart,” solo exhibition at the International House gallery in  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, curated by Sean Stoops.
     
    2009
    “Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) 17,” group exhibition in Long Beach, California, curated by Kóan Jeff Baysa, MD.
     
    2009
    “HomeBase IV,” group exhibition at an abandoned medical center in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, curated by Anat Litwin.
     
    2009
    “The Immunological Paradox of Pregnancy and the Art of Biomedical Realism,” featured project for an event at the Exit Art gallery in New York City, presented by Irina Aristarkhova, Ph.D.
     
    2009
    “A Celebration of the Arts” at the Macy Gallery of Columbia University, curated by Jonathan Lewis.
     
    2008
    “RYT Hospital-Dwayne Medical Center”, solo exhibition at John Jay College Gallery, New York City, curated by Mary Ting.
     
    2007
    “Geo/Genome”, exhibition at the Puffin Cultural Forum, curated by Tim Blunk.
     
    2007
    “HIV Law Project”, group exhibition at Moti Hasson Gallery in New York City, curated by Kóan Jeff Baysa, MD.
     
    2007
    “Orion’s Belt: Health, Technology, and Mythology”, group exhibition in Reno, Nevada, curated by Marjorie Vecchio, PhD.
     
    2006
    “Metabodies: Medicine and Media”, two artist exhibition at the Elizabeth Stone Harper Gallery, Harper Center for the Arts in Clinton, South Carolina. Presented in collaboration with the Annual Arnold Symposim, “Brave New World: The Effects of Media on Medical Research and Development”.
     
    2006
    “The Days of Science and Biotechnology”, group exhibition at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Curated by Denisa Kera, Center for Global Studies, Charles University, and the International Center for Art and New Technologies.
     
    2005
    “Put On Your Blue Genes”, Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (New Society for Fine Arts) in Berlin, Germany. The exhibition focused on art and biotechnology and includes installations by the Critical Art Ensemble, Symbiotic A / The Tissue Culture and Art Project, Paul Vanouse and others.
     
    2005
    Corporeal Self, screened at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (February 18).
     
    2004
    “AC (Anatomically Correct)” at the 473 Broadway Gallery in SoHo, New York City. Curated by Kóan Jeff Baysa, MD, curatorial fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
     
    2004
    “ReproTech: Building Better Babies” at The New York Academy of Sciences, Gallery of Art and Science, New York City. Curated by Suzanne Anker.
     
    2003
    “Gene(isis): Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics” at The Berkeley Art Museum. Solo exhibition entitled “G-commerce” as part of the larger exhibition, lectures and film series. Curated by Alla Effimova.
     
    2002
    “BioVision: In vitro-In vivo” at the World Human Rights Art Festival in Athens, Greece. Featured artist.
     

    Performances And Appearances:

    2017          
    Keynote Speaker, “Arts and the Brain” on June 1, 2017 at the Strathmore Fine Arts mansion in North Bethesda, MD.
     
    2017
    Featured Speaker, “Think Like a Startup – How Modern Businesses Stay Agile” on October 4, 2017 at Oracle Open World in San Francisco, CA.
     
    2016
    Featured Speaker, “Designing Motivational Interventions for Health Behavior Change” on April 6, 2016 at the HXRefactored Annual Health Conference in Boston, MA.
     
    2015
    Featured speaker for the Big Idea Session, “How a Selfie Can Help You Get Healthy” on April 22, 2015 presented by the American Heart Association’s Health Sciences Innovation Investment Forum.
     
    2015
    Featured speaker, “Demos: Apps, Bots and Analytics” on May 21, 2015 for the New Jersey Tech Council’s (NJTC) HealthTech Conference at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison.
     
    2015
    Featured speaker, “Medical Avatar: Healthy Selfie Cube and Body Interact Demos” on June 17, 2015 at BIO2015, Pennsylvania Convention Center.
     
    2015
    Keynote speaker, “Virtual Reality: How A Simulated World Can Transform Medical Care” on September 30, 2015 at Weill Cornell Medical College, presented by Innovation Forum New York (IFNY).
     
    2015
    Featured Speaker, “The Art, Science and Technology of Designing for Health” on Friday, October 30, 2015 at the Connected Health Symposium, Partners Healthcare in Boston, MA.
     
    2014
    The Heinz Stephen Weens Memorial Lecturer, “Medical Avatar: Imaging to Promote Education, Health and Well-Being” on September 26, 2014 at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.
     
    2013
    Keynote speaker, "Future of Human Health: How Art and Technology Will Transform Your Brain" on March 28, 2013 from 7-9pm as part of Strathmore's annual Art and the Brain lecture series in North Bethesda, Maryland.
     
    2013
    Featured speaker and visiting faculty, “Brains + Bodies: Future and Past” on August 9, 2013 at the Transart Institute and the Berlin Museum of Medical History in Berlin, Germany.
     
    2013
    Featured speaker, “Time Travel Simulations for Transformative Health”, “Body Story: Visualizing the Patient Narrative in Uhealth Data,” and “Medical Avatar: Games for Health and Learning” at the ISHSH International Symposium on Healthcare Smart Home, the CEO Forum on Connected Health, and the Startup Forum on Health 2.0 on September 2-3, 2013 at Seoul National University Hospital in Seoul, South Korea.
     
    2013
    Featured speaker, “Time Travel Simulations for Transformative Health” on November 15, 2013 at the New York eHealth Collaborative Digital Health Conference in New York, New York.
     
    2013
    Keynote speaker, “Time Travel Simulations for Transformative Health” on December 17, 2013 at the New Jersey Healthcare Quality Institute (NJHCQI) in West Trenton, New Jersey.
     
    2012
    Featured speaker, "Art, Medicine, and Design" on October 22, 2012 in conjunction with the Not Festival exhibition at the Dansehallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark, introduced by Luis Lara Malvacias.
     
    2012
    Featured speaker, "The Future of Design, Healthcare, and Mobile Technology" on April 21, 2012 for the Interaction Design Association at Bloomberg headquarters in New York, New York.
     
    2012
    Featured speaker with Akshay Kapur, "The Future of Design, Healthcare, and Mobile Technology" on February 2, 2012 for the Interaction Design Association's Interaction12 conference in Dublin, Ireland, sponsored by GE and Google.
     
    2011
    TED Talk speaker, “Introducing the Medical Avatar," Full Spectrum event on May 24, 2011 at the Hiro Ballroom, Maritime Hotel, in New York, New York.
     
    2011
    Plenary speaker, “Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) 19” and Salon Exhibition Artist, Newport Beach, California.
     
    2010
    Lecturer/panelist, “Social Media: Tweeting, Linking, Blogging, Liking, Diggin,” moderated by Bonita Enochs for the Ivy League Medical Alumni Magazine Association conference at the Columbia University Medical Center, New York City.
     
    2010
    Lecture/panelist with Kóan Jeff Baysa, M.D., “SofaLab2: Scientists Visualize/Artists Experiment,” sponsored by the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University.
     
    2009
    Plenary speaker, “Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) 17” and Salon Exhibition Artist, Long Beach, California
    2009
    Featured speaker, “Creating Effective Patient and Physician Portals: Setting the Stage for eHealth 3.0,” lecture at the J. Boye Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
     
    2009
    Lecturer/panelist, “Social Media,” moderated by Anne O'Brien, Director of Client Solutions for Health Central at the American Cancer Society
     
    2009
    Featured Grand Rounds speaker, “From Male Pregnancy to Medical Nanotechnology: Art, Medicine, and the Human Body in Cyberspace,” at the Faculty Club of Columbia University Medical Center for the Program in Narrative Medicine.
     
    2008
    Faculty lecturer, “The Future of Healthcare and Medicine,” New School University, New York City
     
    2008
    Keynote speaker, “12th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference,” in Orlando Florida. Sponsored by Greystone.net, Staywell Communications in cooperation with the Forum for Healthcare Strategists
     
    2006
    Lecturer/panelist, “The Days of Science and Biotechnology” at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Curated by Denisa Kera, Center for Global Studies, Charles University, and the International Center for Art and New Technologies
     
    2004
    Lecturer/panelist, “Embryonic Visions: Social Implications of Reproductive Technologies” with Suzanne Anker, Ph.D. (School of Visual Arts), Lee M. Silver, Ph.D. (Princeton University), Susan Squier, Ph.D. (Penn State University), and Frank Chervenak, M.D. (Weill Cornell Medical College) at the New York Academy of Sciences, New York City
     
    2003
    Faculty lecturer, “Digital Media Aesthetics: The Human Body in Medicine and Technology,” New School University, New York City

    Research Interests:

    art, design, health, medicine, technology, data visualization

    Awards And Honors:

    2014
    31st Annual Weens Memorial Lecturer, Emory University School of Medicine, 
    Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences
     
    2011
    TED Talk speaker, “Introducing the Medical Avatar," Full Spectrum event on May 24, 2011 at the Hiro Ballroom, Maritime Hotel, in New York, New York.
     
    2010
    Fellowship Award by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Group on Information Resources (GIR) Leadership Institute.
     
    2009
    Columbia University Teachers College Scholarship Award
     
    2007
    Best-in-Class Hospital Web Site Award for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (www.nyp.org) by Greystone.net
     
    2005
    Faculty Mentor Award for Outstanding Teaching, Department of Media Studies and Film, New School University
     
    2002-2007
    eHealthcare Leadership Awards, over 30 awards received for web sites created for Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
     
    2002
    Murmur (co-director), Official Selection of the Sundance Film Festival
     
    2000
    INVISION New Media Award, Gold Medal, sponsored by NewMedia Magazine
     
    1999
    INVISION New Media Award, Silver Medal, sponsored by NewMedia Magazine
     
    1998
    Best in Show Award, New York Medical Complex Art Exhibition
     
    1996
    National Telly Award, Gold Statue for Outstanding Film/Video Production
     
    1996
    National Showcase Winner, sponsored by Manhattan Arts magazine
     
    1991
    Rhode Island School of Design Scholarship Award
     
    1991
    Cornell University Tradition Fellow

    Current Courses:

    Media Design

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