Students Learn About VR and AR Medical Innovation Through Visit by Dr. Robert Louis of Hoag

Sharing valuable insight into innovation, technology, problem-solving and the pursuit of purpose, Dr. Robert Louis visited St. Margaret’s and demonstrated to Upper School students how virtual reality and augmented reality are being used to make groundbreaking medical advancements.
Dr. Louis is the program director for Hoag’s Skull Base and Pituitary Tumor Program and the Empower360 Endowed Chair in Skull Base and Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute at Hoag. He presented on the stage of Hurlbut Theater the virtual and augmented reality software he uses to rehearse and perform groundbreaking keyhole neurosurgery. Dr. Louis explained how a virtual-reality walkthrough not only better prepares surgeons for complicated procedures, but also helps patients better understand what exactly doctors will be doing.
“If I just tell them, it doesn’t make as much sense. When I show them, they understand it better,” Dr. Louis told the students. “This transitions us from this era of ‘Doctor I don’t completely understand, but I trust you, go ahead’ to ‘I get it, I am empowered and can make this decision.’”
After the presentation, which the entire Upper School attended, many students met with Dr. Louis to ask follow-up questions about virtual reality, the medical field and his educational and professional path.
Dr. Louis also led a class of students in AP psychology and virtual-reality programming classes earlier in the day. That presentation centered around the use of VR and AR as tools for pain management, physical therapy, addiction treatment, mental illness therapy and more.
“His interest in neurosurgery began when a neurosurgeon visited his grade 6 classroom, so he is always eager to inspire the next generation,” said Upper School Principal Jeneen Graham, who coordinated the visit and also teaches AP psychology. “This fascinating presentation will surely inspire future medical professionals, computer scientists and innovators in our midst. He also modeled his own personal pathway to identifying purpose and achieving satisfaction in his life, which supports our focus on nurturing the pursuit of purpose.
“We are so grateful he took the time to share his story and demonstrate his amazing work with us.”
An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County, California
St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
31641 La Novia Avenue
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675