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Drexel and Coventry University to Host Workshop on Serious Games For Health Care

March 16, 2016

health care

Top minds from the U.S. and U.K. will convene at Drexel to discuss future of video games for health care. 

A gathering of international researchers, developers, professors, entrepreneurs and physicians will convene at Drexel University’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center at the end of March to have a discussion about video games and how they can help improve people’s health, aid the healing process and guide caregivers.

The UK-US Serious Games For Healthcare Workshop is the first meeting of its kind between visionaries and proponents of a branch of video game design that is focused on using games as a solution to healthcare challenges and a way to train medical professionals.

“Most people associate videogames with entertainment. It’s not surprising since most of the more than $90 billion in revenue globally in games is coming from games for entertainment. But, games for health and health care are on the rise and gaining interest among health care researchers and companies, especially since recently there are several games going the arduous route of getting FDA approval,” said Frank Lee, PhD, an associate professor in Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and director of Drexel’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio, who is co-hosting the workshop. “So a gathering like this, that brings some of the top people in the field together, can be a catalyst for growth in an area of game development and healthcare.”

The workshop is also co-hosted by Pamela M. Kato, PhD, professor of Serious Games and director of Coventry University’s Serious Games Institute in the United Kingdom. It is sponsored by the UK Science & Innovation Network — the British government agency responsible for facilitating bilateral research collaborations between the U.K. and international partners

“Workshops like this are necessary to leverage research strengths of both countries and propel forward scientific discussions where they otherwise might not have happened,” said Patricia Gruver, Science and Innovation officer at the British Consulate-General in Los Angeles.

“This workshop is an ideal starting point for the U.S. and the U.K. to develop working collaborations that contribute not only to making serious games that improve health and health care, but to scientific knowledge about this fascinating area of technology and learning,” Kato said. “The active participation of funding agencies in the workshop will hopefully promote mutual understanding of the best strategies to take to move the field forward for mutual benefit.”

During the course of the two days, presenters representing both countries will discuss the future of their work, best practices and ethical considerations related to collecting data generated by the games.

Presentations on Wednesday, March 22, will focus on the use of games for therapy, mental health and preventative medicine. They will be open to the public from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the ExCITe Center.

On the docket are Barbara Sahakian, PhD, from Cambridge University presenting on games for people with schizophrenia and mild cognitive impairment; Joaquin Anguera, PhD, from the University of California – San Francisco, talking about building good brain health; Aaron Seitz, PhD, from the University of California – Riverside, talking about brain-training games; Art Graesser, PhD, from Oxford, who will discuss using games to approach challenging subject matter; David Taylor, PhD, from Imperial College in London, looking at games for training hospital staff for major incident response; Minhua Ma, PhD, from the University of Huddersfield, talking about games for respiratory therapy; and Walt Sacchi, PhD, from the University of California, Irvine, discussing challenges with game-based stroke rehabilitation in a nationwide clinical trial.

This is the first time the UK Science & Innovation Network has put together a workshop like this, with the goal of creating networks between researchers, game developers, funding organizations and industry leaders. Drexel was selected to host the gathering because of its recognized game design program and track record of developing and collaborating with entrepreneurs through the Innovation Center @3401, the ExCITe Center and Drexel’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio.

“Drexel is at a nexus of vibrant technology and health care communities in Philadelphia,” Kato said. “That, coupled with its nationally recognized game design program and faculty of creative problem-solvers, makes the University the perfect host for an international workshop of this nature and magnitude.” 

For more information about attending public presentation session on March 22, click here. 


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