Note: In 2013, Health Games Research completed its work. This web site is now an archive and will not be updated. Please visit the web site of the Center for Digital Games Research at UC Santa Barbara to find current information about health games and the broader field of digital games, and to use the Health Games Research online searchable database.

About Us

Health Games Research is a national program that that provides scientific leadership and resources to advance the research, design, and effectiveness of digital games and game technologies that promote health. It is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio and headquartered at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  The Pioneer Portfolio supports innovative projects that may lead to breakthroughs in the future of health and health care.

Girl playing Wii with doctors

There is both an art and a science to designing health games that are appealing, engaging, and impactful. Health Games Research provides the science.

We work with creative game designers and artists to integrate well tested principles of learning and health behavior change into games that motivate players to improve their health habits and take better care of their health problems.

Collaboration between creative design teams and researchers in the health games field has generated new health games and game technologies that are compelling and fun to play and that significantly improve players’ health-related behaviors and outcomes.

Research is essential to help identify and validate effective approaches to health game design. Health Games Research now supports 21 grantee research projects nationwide.

Health Games Research is directed by Debra Lieberman, Ph.D., communication researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who has been involved for more than 30 years in the research and design of interactive media and games for learning and health.