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Health-Focused Game Competition Winners Announced

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Ashoka's Changemakers have announced that Finding Zoe, Reach Out! Central and Freedom HIV/AIDS, focusing on domestic violence, depression, and AIDS, respectively, have won its health focused "Why Games
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Ashoka's Changemakers have announced the three winners of the online "Why Games Matter" competition they co-sponsored in order to discover innovative computer, video and mobile games aimed at people manage their health and improve how their health care is provided. The three winners are: the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children's Finding Zoe, Inspire Foundation's Reach Out! Central, and ZMQ Software Systems' Freedom HIV/AIDS. Finding Zoe uses the medium of online video games to promote healthy relationships between girls and boys and inspire youth to challenge the acceptance of violence and unhealthy relationships in their own lives. Reach Out! Central is also an online game that uses evidence-based mental health content to help young people understand issues like depression, anger and anxiety, thus increasing their ability to cope with challenges. Freedom HIV/AIDS is a mobile gaming campaign to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and support those living with the disease. Launched by RWJF's Pioneer Portfolio, which supports ideas that may lead to important breakthroughs in health and health care, RWJF says the "Why Games Matter" competition drew more than 70 entries from 13 countries. It used an open source competition model developed by Changemakers, an initiative of Ashoka that promotes enterprising solutions to social problems. The three winners will each receive a $5,000 cash award and have the opportunity to participate in the "Why Games Matter" Change Summit at the 2008 Games for Health conference. Said David Rejeski of the Serious Games Initiative, who helped judge the competition, "The entries were impressive for their breadth and their focus on issues such as mental health and gender relations that games haven't traditionally addressed. Open competitions like this are extremely valuable in shining a light on very exciting ideas, especially from people outside the US, that might not otherwise come to the attention of the games and health communities."

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