Game-based Health Education

Sunday, April 1, 2018
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article
Environment Type: 
Games, Simulations, and Interactives, Summer and Extended Camps
Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Learning Researchers
Computing and information science | Health and medicine | Technology
Access and Inclusion: 
Black/African American Communities
Hispanic/Latinx Communities
Women and Girls

It is a well-documented fact that women and minorities are currently underrepresented in STEM higher education degree programs and careers. As an outreach measure to these populations, we established the Hexacago Health Academy (HHA), an ongoing summer program. Structured as an informal learning environment with a strong youth initiated mentoring component, HHA uses game-based learning as both a means of health education and stimulating interest in careers in medicine among adolescents from underrepresented minority populations. In this article, we describe the 2015 session of the Hexacago Health Academy, which focused on the topic of sexual and reproductive health (SRH). The overall structure of HHA, with its dual focus on game design and enabling youth interaction with science and health professionals, is discussed. Qualitative data from the 24 youths that participated in the 2015 summer session was collected. Results indicated that the initial session of HHA succeeded in its goals of developing critical thinking skills among participants, encouraging teamwork, broadening understanding of the health sciences, and encouraging risk-taking in education. The overall potential efficacy of informal learning environments that use game design as a core component to stimulate interest in STEM fields is discussed.

Publication Name: 
Journal of STEM Outreach
Page Number: 

Team Members

Megan MacklinMegan MacklinAuthor
Patrick JagodaPatrick JagodaAuthor
Ian B. JonesIan B. JonesAuthor
Melissa GilliamMelissa GilliamAuthor

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