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SGS Feature: 'Games for Health 2006: Making Hospitals Fun'

In the latest main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source, we present the final feature covering the recent Games for Health conference concerns the introduction of video games in medica
In the latest main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source, which deals with games created for training, health, government, military, educational and other uses, we present the final feature covering the recent Games for Health conference concerns the introduction of video games in medical facilities as a means to help children better deal with the isolation and trauma associated with their hospital stay. The Making Hospitals Fun session saw three groups speak from various vantage points: a student group from Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center discussing the design of their their waiting room touchscreen-based consoles; Mary White, informatics fellow at Johns Hopkins University, on the three projects currently underway in her department; and Ryan Sharpe of Get Well Gamers on the problems his organization faced as it grew. This excerpt describes just one of the projects that Johns Hopkins' Mary White oversaw: "The second project worked in conjunction with Harriet Lane Clinic in downtown Baltimore, targeting overweight adolescents in the east Baltimore region to provide fitness education that their families might not otherwise be able to afford. Teenagers entered the program on doctor recommendations, and came to the hospital two to three days a week for exercise and nutrition counseling. White said that the clinic provided a “safe place where they can all come in and not be judged based on their weight.” She noted that the target demographic, teenagers aged 14-18 and 13-19, was harder to reach because of their involvement with school and recreational activities. “We looked at Dance Dance Revolution to use in the clinical setting as a way to make fitness fun for them,” she said. The games worked because the teens already viewed them in a positive fashion, and, according to White, “despite their socioeconomic status, most of them had video games in their homes.” Dance Dance Revolution thus provided an indoor fitness opportunity for the teens to use at home in a safe setting – a particular concern for kids living in rough neighborhoods." You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the subject, including more on all three organizations trying to "keep hospitals fun" (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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