Advancing the Field at the 2011 Games for Health Conference

    • May 11, 2011

The growing field of video games provides an exciting range of opportunities to address complex health and health care challenges. Today, games are empowering people to manage chronic illness and pain, training health care providers in breakthrough techniques that will improve patient care, and delivering health-promoting messages to kids and families across the country. At the intersection of video games and health is Games for Health, a program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Serious Games Initiative. Games for Health supports community, knowledge, and business development efforts to use cutting-edge games and game technologies to improve health and health care.

The seventh annual Games for Health Conference will take place May 17-19, 2011, with hundreds of thought leaders in health care, video game development, technology, education and public policy convening in Boston. The dynamic speaker roster will be led by the founding father of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman, Ph.D.; the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Executive Director Shellie Pfohl; and Google Health Chief Strategist Roni Zeiger.

The conference will challenge attendees to look beyond the promise video games have to improve the health of individuals and reframe the discussion to focus on increasing the number of successfully deployed projects that can help millions of people improve their health. More than 80 presentations will focus on areas like exergaming, physical therapy, disease management, health behavior change, biofeedback, rehab, epidemiology, training, cognitive health, nutrition and health education.

This year’s event is the biggest Games for Health Conference to date. Of particular note, the conference has added the following features:

Nutrition Track

The opportunity to utilize games to help improve issues related to nutrition and food is still not fully realized. To help drive innovations and move the ball forward, the Games for Health Conference is investing resources this year toward improving this area within the games for health field.

Ludica Medica Day

The conference’s medical modeling, simulation and learning track has transitioned to a standalone pre-conference day, Ludica Medica Day, held on May 17. By making it a standalone event, conference organizers hope to expand its contributions to the larger medical modeling and simulation space. Other events that day include Out and About: Mobile Serious Games and Enable Play: Third Annual Games Accessibility Day.

Sensor Day

Combining existing sessions from the event’s open track with several new unique sessions dedicated to sensors, the conference now features a day for developers, researchers and sensor manufacturers to convene and discuss the intricacies of bringing about widespread sensor-based games that are also health specific, with biometric tracking and strong PHR (personal health record) compatibility.

To join the conversation about the conference, follow the Twitter hashtag #G4H11 and visit the Pioneering Ideas blog during the week of May 16 for event news and highlights. Videos and images from the conference will also be available on Games for Health’s YouTube channel and Flickr accounts.