Grants Doled Out to Enable Games & Health Research

As part of an initiative to chronicle the health benefits of videogames, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has bestowed over $1.85 million in grants to nine research teams.

RWJF’s Health Games Research program, headquartered at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is backed by $8.25 million in funding from RWJF’s Pioneer Portfolio, which operates under the mantra of supporting “innovative projects that may lead to breakthrough improvements in the future of health and health care.” The grant winners announced today are part of a second round of funding.

Pioneer Portfolio Team Director Paul Tarini stated, “The pace of growth and innovation in digital games is incredible, and we see tremendous potential to design them to help people stay healthy or manage chronic conditions like diabetes or Parkinson’s disease.  However, we need to know more about what works and what does not—and why.”

Research teams were chosen from 185 total proposals and each was awarded between $100,000 and $300,00. The grant winners, and a short synopsis of their field of study, are:

• Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – Reward Circuitry, Autism and Games that Teach Social Perceptual Skills

George Washington University – Active-Adventure: Investigating a Novel Exergaming Genre in Inner City School Physical Education Programs

Georgetown University – Wii Active Exergame Intervention for Low-Income African-American Obese and Overweight Adolescents

Long Island University – Dance Video Game Training and Falling in Parkinson’s Disease

Michigan State University – Buddy Up! Harnessing Group Dynamics to Boost Motivation to Exercise

Michigan State University – Short-Term and Long-Term Effectiveness of Exergames for Young Adults

Teachers College, Columbia University – Lit: A Game Intervention for Nicotine Smokers

University of California, San Francisco – A Video Game to Enhance Cognitive Health in Older Adults

University of Southern California – Robot Motivator: Towards Adaptive Health Games for Productive Long-Term Interaction

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