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Games for Health Announces 4th Annual Conference 2008


December 6, 2007 - (Portland, ME) - Today the Games for Health Project (www.gamesforhealth.org) announced plans for its fourth annual Games for Health Conference. The conference will be held May 8?9, 2008, at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Games for Health announced Humana has signed on as a premiere industry sponsor for the event.

Prior to the conference, on May 7, the Project will also host two additional day-long events devoted to virtual worlds and health, as well as games accessibility. Together, these three days of meetings will cover the intersection of next-generation game technologies, health, and health care.

Registration is now open at www.gamesforhealth.org, and a call for content has now been issued on the site and is available to prospective speakers and presenters.

The Games for Health Project is dedicated to exploring and building on the use of games and game technologies to improve health and health care. The Project was started in 2002 by the Serious Games Initiative (www.seriousgames.org) and is sponsored by the Pioneer Portfolio of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). On November 7, 2007,RWJF announced an $8.25M grant to fund new research and continued efforts to build the games for health field, which includes support for the Games for Health Project and primary sponsorship of the Games for Health Conference through 2011.

"On the heels of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation?s grant announcement, we are proud to launch what we expect to be our biggest and best gathering to date," said Games for Health Project Communications Director and conference organizer Beth Bryant. "The theme this year is ?Leveling Up,? which we feel signifies the great leaps forward the games for health community has made since our last major event in September 2006."

The Games for Health Conference expects over 300 attendees at Games for Health 2008. ?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 and health care challenges.?

The Games for Health Conference 2008 will feature more than 30 sessions and an expanded expo, including specific tracks on exergaming and training?two of the biggest areas of activity within the greater games for health field. Over the course of the two-day conference, researchers and game developers are expected to share research, games, and related engineering covering a diverse portfolio of activities, including:

* Exergaming & Rehabitainment
* Health Behavior Change
* Disease Management & Education
* Public Health Messaging & Patient Communication
* Cognitive Health
* Training and Management Sims & Occupational Recruitment
* Accessibility for Games & Disability-Focused Games
* Epidemiology
* Pain Distraction & Stress Relief
* CyberPsychology
* Entertainment Games About Health or Substantial Health-Related Play
* Health Effects of Games
* First Responders & Mass Casualty Training
* Medical Informatics & Health Data Collection
* Virtual Patients
* Interface & Visualization Applications
* Personal Health & Electronic Medical Record Systems

On May 8, a network reception will also be held, sponsored by Virtual Heroes of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. During the reception attendees will be able to play with 3DiTeams. Funded by the U.S. 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 healthcare environments.

In addition to RWJF?s primary sponsorship, Games for Health also announced today that Humana, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, had signed on as a Premiere Sponsor of the 2008 conference, funding a range of activities at the event. The sponsorship includes the creation of the Humana Exergaming Room, which will be one of the largest showcases of exergaming research, software, and hardware seen to date.

"Humana is proud to be the first in the healthcare industry to sponsor the Games for Health Conference. We're excited to support the Games for Health 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 initiative that is committed to understanding and applying electronic games to positively impact health."

Ben Sawyer, co-founder of the Games for Health Project, stated, "One of our goals when we started the Games for Health Project was for major health industry companies such as Humana to join with the community to identify and move forward on shared areas of interest. This leading sponsorship is a sign we're able to serve as a platform to enable the kind of partnership needed to help the field grow and to play a meaningful role where research indicates games offer good benefit." Sawyer continued, "In the coming months we expect to announce other sponsorships and partnerships aimed at making our 2008 conference a not-to-be-missed event."

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

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