4th Annual Games for Health Conference Kicks Off

Over the next two days, more than 300 innovators will demonstrate new games and discuss key advancements across the health and games fields at the 4th Annual G4H Conference.

The Games for Health Project today kicked off the 2008 Games for Health Conference at the Baltimore Convention Center. Over the next two days, more than 300 innovators will demonstrate new games and discuss key advancements and collaborations across the health and games fields.

The conference, which runs through tomorrow, builds the convergence between cutting edge gaming technology and healthcare complexities, with an eye toward long-term, breakthrough health solutions. This year’s conference includes:

  • More than two dozen innovative demonstration projects, including application of consumer games, such as Guitar Hero and Nintendo Wii, for self-care, rehabilitation and prevention purposes
  • Seventy-five experts speaking on topics from exergaming and physical therapy to epidemiology and cognitive exercise
  • The first-ever keynote panel of health insurance providers, organized by Humana, featuring four of the nation’s leading health insurers discussing their activities in the games for health field

The Games for Health Conference is produced by the Games for Health Project. Founded in 2004, the Games for Health Project supports community, knowledge and business development efforts to use cutting- edge games and game technologies to improve health and health care.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneer Portfolio is the lead conference sponsor and a major supporter of the Games for Health Project.

“This conference provides a forum for collaborations to emerge between the video game industry and the health and health care industry,” said Chinwe Onyekere, RWJF program officer. “Through these exchanges, we hope attendees will continue to explore how the power of video games can help to solve complex health challenges.”

Conference Details

More than 300 attendees will participate in over 60 sessions provided by an international array of 75 speakers, cutting across a wide range of activities in health and healthcare. Topics include exergaming, physical therapy, disease management, health behavior change, biofeedback, epidemiology, training, cognitive exercise, nutrition and health education. This year’s conference includes presentations by Dr. Richard Satava; Starlight Foundation; HopeLab; Realtime Associates; Virtual Heroes; XRtainment Zone; Archimage; Dr. Mark Baldwin of MindHabits; Electric Owl Studios; Noah Falstein of The Inspiracy; and Games for Health co-founder Ben Sawyer.

Humana joins the Games for Health Conference in 2008 as a Premiere Industry Sponsor. Among the activities sponsored by Humana are two demonstration rooms filled with the latest efforts in exergaming.

“Humana is proud to be the first insurer in the healthcare industry to sponsor the Games for Health Conference. We’re excited to support the Conference’s ability to bring together leading researchers and game developers to address critical health issues,” said Paul Puopolo, director of Consumer Innovation at Humana. “Our participation in this conference is just one part of our overall commitment to understanding and applying electronic games to positively impact health.”

Serious games developer Virtual Heroes of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is providing sponsorship for a May 8 reception. During the reception, attendees will be able to play with 3DiTeams. Funded by the US Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), 3DiTeams was developed by Virtual Heroes with Duke University’s Human Simulation and Patient Safety Center, and lets people interact with a fully 3D simulation of emergency health care environments.

Other sponsors include Breakaway Games; Source Distributors; Gaming4Health.com — iConecto; Baltimore County Department of Economic Development; Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development; Red Octane; and Xrtainment Zone.

About Games for Health

The Games for Health Project is produced by the Serious Games Initiative, a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars effort that applies cutting-edge games and game technologies to a range of public and private policy, leadership and management issues. The project also produces the Games for Health Conference, now in its fourth year.

The Initiative founded Games for Health to develop a community and best practices platform for the numerous 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, health care and policy. For more information, visit www.gamesforhealth.org.