The Games for Health Project

Founded in 2004, the Games for Health Project supports the development of cutting-edge games and game technologies to improve health and health care.

The features of computer and video games—advanced graphics, stunning realism, immersive interactivity, structured challenges—offer unique solutions to a variety of health and health care issues. Whether it's teens managing a chronic disease, stroke victims in physical rehabilitation, individuals looking to be more active and manage their weight, public health officials planning for potential disease outbreaks, or nurses and doctors seeking to hone their skills, game-based solutions challenge, motivate, and engage users in a way that no other medium can.

Through the Pioneer Portfolio, RWJF has been a leader in the field of health games, investing approximately $9 million since 2004. The Games for Health Project helps forge new connections between the worlds of games and health. Beginning in 2005, Games for Health has held annual national and regional conferences that bring together game designers and developers, researchers, medical professionals, educators, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, and others to share information about the impact games and game technologies can have on health and health care.

The project's annual Games for Health Conference is the leading meeting in its field. Over the course of three days, more than 400 attendees—including researchers, medical professionals, and game developers from Nintendo, TEDMED, the American Heart Association, and Lucasfilm—participate in more than 60 sessions featuring an international array of speakers. Topics include exergaming, physical therapy, disease management, health behavior change, biofeedback, rehabilitation, epidemiology, training, cognitive health, nutrition, and health education.


Games for Health Project

Portland, ME

Ben Sawyer
Co-Founder, Games for Health

Paul Tarini

Paul Tarini, senior program officer

Next Generation of Health Games

The notion that games can be used in health and health care is no longer novel, but accepted. Over the past 6 years, RWJF partnered with Health Games Research, Games for Health and others to build a body of evidence about whether games worked to improve health and, if so, what made them work. We’ve used this information at RWJF for games to improve healthcare quality and address childhood obesity. We hope these efforts will continue to guide the next generation of health games," says Paul Tarini, senior program officer for the Pioneer Portfolio.

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Director Ben Sawyer Talks About Games for Health

"Games have an ability to structure information such that a complex topic is more accessible. Video game interaction is also, done right, highly motivating. When you're talking about the future of health care you're often talking about obtaining qualities modern-day video games excel at. So why not go to a great source of those qualities?"

Ben Sawyer, Project Director, Games for Health Project

Games for Health Conference 2013   

The ninth annual Games for Health Conference returns to Boston on June 26-28. More than 400 developers, researchers, investors, and leaders in health and health gaming from around the world will convene to learn, forge new perspectives, and debate on the state of health games and the road ahead.

Themes this year will center on the traction health games are making, the latest technology developers need to know about and investment opportunities that will advance health gaming more rapidly.

In the spotlight: Games that assist with cognitive development, asthma, cerebral palsy, motor skills, memory and learning, global health and sexually transmitted disease prevention.

The health game pioneers behind Oculus VR, Zombies Run!, PlayForward, Pocket Ritual and Re-Mission will also present.

To learn more about the 2013 conference, visit the Games for Health Conference website.


The number of game designers, innovators & researchers who attended @GamesForHealth 2012

1 Hr

Time students from Kennedy Middle School showed off their DDR Classroom Edition skills @GamesForHealth

REad what People are saying about Games for Health...

...In USA Today: "Beyond exergames: New games for health go mobile and social"

...In The Boston Globe: "New video games can help people recover from injuries"

...On "Beyond fitness: New frontiers for improving health through video games"

...On "Ben Sawyer on how Games for Health will lead to “human joysticks” (interview)"

Games for Health on Pioneering Ideas

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