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Introduction

EUPHA is constantly looking for opportunities to strengthen national public health professionals, as the EUPHA strategy says ‘enhancing capacity’. Recently, there is an increasing appearance of serious games. Serious games for health are educational tools that are more frequently used for health professional training and continuous professional development.

Recent scientific findings show the potential of serious gaming in capacity building in public health professionals throughout the European region. The added value of serious gaming in social learning and capacity building is extensively described and reviewed in literature and evidence has been compiling the last decade.[1] Gaming and simulation exercises prove as an appropriate process for dealing with the increasing complexity of organisational environments and the problems of communication within complex organisations and their networks.[2] Recently (April 2019), the potential of serious games for capacity building and collaboration in the field of public health has been described.[3] Data from three European countries showed positive results on collaboration, evidence informed policy making and communication.[4] There are numerous possibilities for serious games, ranging from physical board games to online videogames and escapes rooms. Escape rooms are physical adventure activities that allow participants to solve hidden puzzles in collaboration with a group while “locked” in the same room. The use of serious gaming is not well developed in the field of public health.

Aims

Therefore, a working group on serious gaming is set up within EUPHA to:

  • Guide the development of a serious game for public health professionals at European level in order to support EUPHA members (i.e. national public health associations) with skills training, including collaboration amongst public health professionals, and with those outside the traditional field of public health (e.g. urban planners, occupational therapists);
  • Discuss the added value of offering serious games as a benefit for EUPHA members;
  • Evaluate the developed serious game for public health professionals (Q4 2021).

Working group members

The working group is established from November 2019 to November 2021 with the possibility of continuing after 2021. The members are:

  • Dineke Zeegers Paget – EUPHA executive director (chair) 
  • Maaike Droogers – EUPHA deputy executive director (co-chair) 
  • Iveta Nagyova, EUPHA president 
  • Pasquale Cacciatore, EUPHAnxt representative 
  • Luis Saboga-Nunes, EUPHA Health promotion section president 
  • Jan Jansen, Public health adviser, freelance EUPHA-adviser

References

1 Ampatzidou, C., Gugerell, K., Constantinescu, T., Devisch, O., Jauschneg, M., & Berger, M. (2018). All Work and No Play? Facilitating Serious Games and Gamified Applications in Participatory Urban Planning and Governance. Urban Planning, 3(1), 34-46. https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v3i1.1261

2 Geurts JLA, Duke RD, Vermeulen PAM. Policy gaming for strategy and change. Long Range Plan. 2007;40(6):535–58

3 Spitters HPEM. In2Action: A policy game to enhance collaboration in public health policies in three European countries. Doctoral Thesis. Tilburg University. Enschede: Ipskamp, 2019. 235 p. Available at: https://pure.uvt.nl/ws/portalfiles/portal/23665516/Tranzo_Spitters_developing_policy_game_BMC_PH_open_access_2017.pdf