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Fifth Annual Games for Health Conference Kicks Off in Boston

More than 300 Join to Discuss Health Game Trends and Developments at Boston Hyatt Harborside June 11-12

BOSTON, June 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Beginning today, the Games for Health Project ( kicks off the 5th annual Games for Health Conference at the Boston Hyatt Harborside. Having grown more than 300 percent since its initial year, the next two days will bring together several hundred of the sharpest minds in the game development and health fields to explore the use of game technology in health and health care, discuss recent industry advancements and collaborate on future projects.

This year's conference offers:

  • Keynotes from health and gaming industry leaders including Shyang Kong, Senior Producer for EA SPORTS Active
  • Over 50 sessions featuring 100 experts -- including speakers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School and Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment -- presenting on topics including health training, behavior change therapy, cognitive exercise and exergaming

Conference sessions include:

  • What Kids Get Out of Video Games: The Presence of Games in Healthy Child Development; Cheryl Olson, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Using the Wii to Assist Parkinson's & Burn Victim Patients; Ben Herz, School of Allied Health Sciences Medical College of Georgia; Sam K. Yohannan, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
  • Games for Health and Education: A Policy Report and Discussion; Moderated by David Lowenstein, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center
  • Additional presentations by Doris Rusch of MIT's Gambit Lab; Partners Health; Virtual Heroes; HopeLab; Dr. Ann Maloney of Maine Medical Center and Games for Health co-founder Ben Sawyer

"The Games for Health Conference is once again providing an outstanding forum for gaming and health professionals to showcase the latest innovations in the field and the opportunity to join forces and spark ideas that will inevitably change the future of health care," said Ben Sawyer, co-founder, The Games for Health Project.

Through events such as the Games for Health Conference, the Games for Health Project connects the game development, research and health care communities, facilitating partnerships that will result in the development of new health game solutions. Games and game technologies that emerge from Games for Health events help individuals achieve better health outcomes, empower patients to manage chronic diseases, and hone the skills of providers to deliver better care.

This year's conference is held in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio, the leading supporter of the Games for Health Project. The Pioneer Portfolio supports innovative ideas and projects that may lead to significant breakthroughs in the future of health and health care.

"We believe the potential of games to improve health and health care is nearly limitless. We're seeing how games can effectively motivate people to adopt healthier behaviors, empower patients to manage chronic diseases better, and raise medical training and skill development to new levels," said Steve Downs, assistant vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "The Games for Health Conference channels the creativity and vision of game and health professionals to improve health and health care for all Americans, and we look forward to seeing the innovative ideas that emerge from this year's discussions."

Humana Inc., one of the nation's largest health benefits companies, returns for the second year as a premiere health care sponsor this year, providing support for several conference activities. Humana will present new initiatives from the Humana Games for Health (HG4H) program, which officially launched at the Games for Health conference in 2008.

"Humana is proud to be the premiere industry sponsor of the Games for Health Conference again this year. 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 continued support of the conference is just a portion of our dedication to raising awareness for the health games industry and encouraging the continuation of well-produced healthy games."

Serious Games developer Virtual Heroes also returns to sponsor a June 11 reception where they will showcase "Pamoja Mtaani," a game produced in partnership with Warner Brothers and PEPFAR to raise HIV awareness in Kenya, and "HumanSim," the virtual platform developed for medical training and education. In addition, Virtual Heroes is set to make a special announcement on a new project. For more information, visit

Other sponsors include Breakaway Ltd., Business Resource Team, Entertainment Consumers Association, H.I.L. Forum, International Game Developers Association, Mary-Margaret Network, Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, Mass Technology Leadership Council, MODSIM World Conference & Expo and Muzzy Lane.

About Games for Health:

Games for Health, the leading professional community in the field of health games, unites the best minds in health care and game development to advance game technologies that improve people's health and the delivery of health care. Through their national and regional events, as well as extensive online resources, Games for Health brings together researchers, medical professionals and game developers to share best practices and forge new, game-based solutions to pressing health and health care challenges. Games for Health is funded primarily by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio, which supports innovative ideas that may lead to significant breakthroughs in the future of health and health care. It was founded in 2004 by the Serious Games Initiative, a project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars dedicated to applying innovative games and game technologies to a range of public and private policy, leadership and management issues. For more information, visit

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:

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 trigger 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 make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit

SOURCE Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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