CalArts alum Roger Holzberg (BFA 76), a cancer survivor and former creative director and vice president at Walt Disney Imagineering, co-founded Reimagine Well, a revolutionary company that creates immersive healing experiences and builds custom virtual reality (VR) theaters in hospitals for pediatric and adolescent cancer patients.
Co-founder Dr. Leonard Sender, an oncologist and hematologist, wanted to address the psychosocial needs of youth cancer patients whose hospital experiences are typically marked by long hours of isolation and fear. In a New York Times article, Sender says he realized, "If he ever needed chemotherapy himself...he would want to lose himself in a tranquil, enjoyable environment: 'Could I get my infusion in an aquarium?'"
Thus, Holzberg and Sender created the Infusionarium, a physical space for patients and their friends and family to connect with each other, watch movies, play video games, and engage in VR immersive healing experiences like skydiving, underwater exploration, and up-close encounters with exotic zoo animals.
Holzberg partnered with several CalArtians to generate Reimagine Well's creative works. The collaborators include designer Ed Haro (Art BFA 82), writer Martin Casella (Theater BFA 78), and on-camera host Doree Sitterly (Theater BFA 76).
In addition to Infusionariums, Reimagine Well also offers patients, families, and healthcare workers a private support community, and distributes educational guides that can be used across the entire patient journey.
CalArts experience designers interested in collaborating with Reimagine Well in the creation of new immersive healing experiences can find out more on the company's website.
Watch an ABC News clip about Reimagine Well: