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Online game's aim is flu education


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POSTED: Tuesday, May 26, 2009

An interactive online game called Coral Cross will be launched next week as part of the state's effort to educate the public about H1N1 (swine) flu and pandemic preparedness.

The state Department of Health and Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies produced what they call “;the world's first Emergent Reality Game on pandemic influenza.”;

“;A game may seem an unusual approach for a state agency to use to promote public dialogue on a serious issue,”; state Health Director Chiyome Fukino said in a news release. “;But it's part of our ongoing commitment to find and evaluate the most effective ways to communicate with the public on important public issues.”;

Researcher Stuart Candy with the Futures Studies center and Coral Cross project leader, said: “;This is an unprecedented chance for folks in Hawaii to show the world how planning and policy-making decisions can be furthered using game techniques.

“;We're looking to the viral capabilities of technology to try to transmit pandemic preparedness faster than the flu can spread and to seek feedback and ideas that may influence pending public policy.”;

The public can register at coralcross.org to participate in the game, created as part of a Health Department public engagement demonstration project on pandemic influenza funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

State health officials are seeking public comment on values and concerns decision-makers should consider in setting priorities in Hawaii for limited vaccine supplies if a pandemic occurs.

A public meeting titled “;Surviving Hawaii's Next Pandemic”; will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Ward Warehouse conference room. For more information see hawaii.gov/health.