Two-year grant given to support research on how video games can be used in health care.
GAMES FOR HEALTH PROJECT RECEIVES MAJOR FUNDING
Effort Will Explore and Assist Emerging Use of Game Technologies in Health
Portland, Maine – The Serious Games Initiative, a joint effort between
Digitalmill, Inc. and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars, today announced that Digitalmill has received a two-year grant
from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to support the Games for
Games for Health is designed to promote best practices, community
building, and research into how cutting-edge game design and development
methodologies can aid in the creation of health tools that range from
direct patient application, to personal health education, and workforce
“Games are already playing a role in health care today,” said Ben Sawyer,
president of Digitalmill, which will run day-to-day activities and
planning for Games for Health. “We have exercise games, games that help
with phobia treatment, games used for treating pain related to cancer or
burns, and games used to train health care workers in important new
procedures. We’re not starting at zero. We’ve already showcased more than
a dozen projects, including commercial products that prove there is a
potentially pervasive role for games and gamelike software in health
Funding provided by RWJF will be used to continue the efforts already
under way and to create new resources for assembling a comprehensive
community to aid developers and users of games as solutions to a variety
of health problems. Examples of these applications include the following:
• Dance Dance Revolution: The popular dance game from Konami feuatures an
exercise mode. You set goals and play while it reports calorie burn from
• Iceworld and Splash: Gamelike 3D environments are now being used to help
patients cope with severe pain resulting from burns and cancer treatment.
• Yourself! Fitness: Designed to be the workout for the videogame
generation. It provides dynamic personal workout sessions using
state-of-the-art 3D game graphics and environments.
• Code Orange: Helps hospitals deal with the rapid decision making
required to deal effectively with mass-casualty events.
• Cardiac Arrest: A computer adventure game that simulates the diagnosis
and treatment procedures for people suffering from various forms of
• VR Phobia: The Virtual Reality Medical Center has modified commercial
games to create effective treatments for patients suffering from common
phobias, including fear of flying, spiders, heights, and driving.
“With this funding we can ensure that the promise games hold for health
care is fulfilled,” said David Rejeski, director of the Foresight and
Governance Project at the Wilson Center. “This is a great recognition not
only for our Games for Health Project but for the entire field of serious
games. The talent and vision of game developers enable a kind of creative
problem solving that health care field professionals are eager to engage.
Our project will make this easier to do.”
“Games are a powerful new media form, and like books, movies, and
television, they can play a positive role in health and health care,” said
Chinwe Onyekere, program associate at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“As the early efforts already show, that role could be quite exciting.
“Digitalmill and the Wilson Center have made significant progress in
bringing together a community of game developers and health professionals.
Our support is aimed to help grow and nurture the advancement of this
emerging field through the recognition of games as a potential medium for
improving health and health care.”
Games for Health Conference Extended to 2005 and 2006
Games for Health announced that with the new funding it will be extending
its health care and games conference into 2005 and 2006. In September
2004, Games for Health, in partnership with the Academic ADL Co-Lab and
the Federation of American Scientists Learning Federation Project, held
Games for Health 2004 in Madison, Wisconsin. This first-ever conference
covering the intersection of games and health care attracted more than 120
participants and speakers who discussed the latest game-based health care
technology, including exercise pads and bikes connected to off-the-shelf
videogames for exercise, nutritional education games, and simulations of
mass casualty treatment in hospitals.
Details on Games for Health 2005 will be announced in March.
About Games for Health
Games for Health is a project produced by The Serious Games Initiative
(www.seriousgames.org), a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
effort that applies games and game technologies to a range of public and
private policy, leadership, and management issues.
The Initiative founded Games for Health to develop a community and best
practices platform for games being built for health care applications. To
date the project has brought together researchers, medical professionals,
and game developers to share information about the impact games and game
technologies can have on health care and policy. This includes an effort
to catalog the current use of games in health care.
For more information about Games for Health, see www.gamesforhealth.org.
About The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the
nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health
care. It concentrates its grantmaking in four goal areas: to assure that
all Americans have access to quality health care at reasonable cost; to
improve the quality of care and support for people with chronic health
conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce
the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse –
tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs.