Games4Health inspires healthy living

Games4Health inspires healthy living

A student presents a health-related video game prototype during a recent event at the University of Utah. Photo Credit: University of Utah
A student presents a health-related video game prototype during a recent event at the University of Utah.
Photo courtesy of The University of Utah

The U is preparing for a competition to combine gaming and health.
The competition, titled Games4Health gives students a chance to form groups and generate prototype games for gaming systems or smartphones and apply the games to specific health needs. It will bring together certain groups, such as entrepreneurship, health services and gaming.
Thad Kelling, the marketing manager for the Lassonde Entrepreneur Center, is excited to have students work on games while also working towards becoming healthier and developing systems to give others the chance to be healthy.
“It’s promoting health care and entrepreneurship. It’s about bringing all of that energy into one spot and focusing on health care issues,” Kelling said.
That energy is the consistent progress the U makes in video gaming.
“We have a developing tradition of health-related video games. This is a way to include the students,” Kelling said.
Business professor Christopher Wasden believes this competition is essential because of the lack of time individuals spend with their doctors each year.
“Patients spend about six hours a year with their doctor,” said Wasden.
These games and apps being developed will help doctors when checking up on patients.
Kelling pointed to a broader range of individuals that the challenge could affect.
“I think it’s critical to explore this space of how video games can benefit people and address health care needs. It is important for the world, not just university members. This has major impact potential,” said Kelling.
Kelling also hopes a diverse group of students will attend the event.
“One of our missions is to pull together diverse student groups, to give them a richer educational experience,” Kelling said. “There is educational purpose to activities like this. It will change their work ethic. Employers are always looking for proof that you can do the job. Here is one example that mixes real work life and their careers.”
Kelling was excited to see that students will be given the opportunity to work on an applicable project.
“We work to promote and organize interdisciplinary unique student opportunities,” Kelling said.
Once students sign up, they will be given a variety of activities to do while waiting for the competition. This is to keep students moving with ideas and innovations.
The event is a collaborative project. It is sponsored by organizations such as Sorenson Center for Discovery and Innovation, the David Eccles School of Business and the U’s Health Sciences.
There are cash prizes as well as different beneficial services and non-cash prizes. There will be fundraising to see what certain prizes are. Legal and professional services will be offered to winners.
Kelling was excited to be apart of the next step of the progression of health care related gaming.
“We are still developing what that [services] is. Major step into the field of health care related gaming,” Kelling said.
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