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 Health Project.
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 initiatives.
"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 care."
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.
"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 inbringing together a community of game developers and health professionals.Our support is aimed to help grow and nurture the advancement of thisemerging 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.