2010 Games for Health Conference Explores Role of Video Games in Health Care

    • April 29, 2010

The Games for Health project today announced the sixth annual Games for Health Conference, to be held at the Hyatt Harborside Boston from May 25 to 27, 2010.

Held in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Pioneer Portfolio, the conference focuses on supporting ideas that may lead to breakthroughs in the future of health and health care. The Pioneer Portfolio has funded the Games for Health project and this conference since 2004, to serve as a catalyst connecting diverse professional groups and creating opportunities to develop innovative solutions that help people live healthier lives and get the care they need.

"The Games for Health Conference joins leaders in health care and game development to initiate compelling new ideas and solutions," said Ben Sawyer, founder of the Games for Health project. "Attendees can expect an interactive and dynamic conference platform with valuable content, networking opportunities and community-led tracks."

"This annual conference has become the premier event attracting the top minds in game development and health care," said Paul Tarini, M.A., RWJF senior program officer and team director for the Pioneer Portfolio. "Games can effectively motivate people to adopt healthier behaviors, empower patients to better manage their health, and raise medical training and skill development to new levels."

Conference Overview

The three-day conference will offer over 55 sessions featuring 100 speakers covering a wide range of topics such as exergaming, cognitive and emotional health, simulation and learning, virtual worlds and more. Sessions include a discussion about dreams and video game play with Jayne Gackenbach of Grand MacEwan University; a panel about the effect games can have on global health such as flu epidemics; and a presentation by Yale School of Medicine's Lynn Sullivan, M.D., on a National Institute of Health-funded project for HIV prevention in at-risk adolescents.

The conference will also feature a game demo room as well as an outdoor game pavilion.

Conference Keynotes

Sony senior researcher Richard Marks, Ph.D., will deliver the conference keynote, "The Mind-Body Experience of Sony PlayStation Move: Relationships between Gaming, Play, Exercise and More" on May 26. Marks will discuss the development of Sony's new motion controller system, PlayStation® Move, with a focus on somatic gratification—when the body actually improves a game experience beyond what a mind-only experience can create.

The conference will also feature opening remarks by John Lumpkin, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president and the director of the Health Care Group at RWJF, who will outline key challenges in health care—ranging from training skilled practitioners to motivating behavior change among people managing chronic illnesses—that will require the skill and ingenuity of game industry experts to solve.

Spore creator and independent game developer Chaim Gingold, formerly of Maxis/EA, will deliver the second-day keynote, "The Human Play Machine," focusing on the way existing game genres map onto the human brain and body, and how design decisions affect who is attracted to games and how people will play them.

Register Now

Last year's Games for Health Conference sold out early and interested attendees are encouraged to register now. Registration information, schedule and related links are available at http://www.gamesforhealth.org.

About the Games for Health Project
Games for Health, the leading professional community in the field of health games, brings together the best minds in game development and health care to advance game technologies that improve health and the delivery of health care. Games for Health is funded primarily by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pioneer Portfolio
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. The Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio supports innovative ideas and projects that may lead to important breakthroughs in health and health care. Projects in the Pioneer Portfolio are future-oriented and look beyond conventional thinking to explore solutions at the cutting edge of health and health care. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to