Pamela M. Kato, EdM, PhD
MY RESEARCH VISION
My work is inspired by great video games that have changed the way I perceive the world and engaged me to become a master. Through video games I have played my guitar to sell-out crowds in massive concert arenas and I have restored the cosmos by rolling a ball around to collect things ranging from match sticks to mountains. Commercial games have inspired me to see how serious games and gamification approaches can be used to change behaviours and positively influence outcomes where traditional educational and behaviour change approaches have failed. My particular area of expertise is in serious games for health. I hope to change the world one game at a time.
Prof. Pamela Kato is an internationally recognized expert on serious games. She received her masters in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University, her Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Stanford University School of Medicine. She was the founding President and CEO at HopeLab where she led the efforts to develop and conduct research on Re-Mission, a widely acclaimed serious game evaluated in a multi-centre randomized trial published in Pediatrics. She recently worked on Phosphorus Mission, a mobile serious game app for patients with chronic kidney disease that has been accredited by the EDTNA (European Dialysis and Transplantation Nurse Association). As the owner of P. M. Kato Consulting, Dr. Kato worked with international companies, government agencies and non-profits to strategically use serious games and gamification to improve customer engagement and patient outcomes. Her clients included Healthy Solutions (Netherlands), Sanofi (France), Janssen (Belgium), the Ministry of Health Holdings (Singapore), HopeLab (USA), Halmstad University (Sweden) and Grendel Games (The Netherlands). She is currently involved in several large European funded projects (Europeana Space, PEGASO, MAGELLAN, PERGAMON and SimAula) that involve the creation of serious game technologies for health, education and cultural heritage. She has award-winning research publications in peer-reviewed journals and is an Associate Editor for the Games for Health Journal. She was a guest professor at the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg and adjunct faculty at University College Utrecht. She also held a position as Adjunct Clinical Instructor at Stanford Hospital in Pediatrics and was a Visiting Scholar at MIT in Comparative Media Studies. She is the Chair of the Games for Health UK Conference.
- Bul, K., Kato, P. M., van der Oord, S., Danckaerts, M., Vreeke, L., Willems, A., van Oers, H., van den Heuvel, R., Birnie, D., van Amelsvoort, T., Franken, I., and Maras, A. (2016) ‘Behavioral Outcome Effects of Serious Gaming as an Adjunct to Treatment for Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial’. Journal of Medical Internet Research 18 (2), e26.
- Baranowski, T., Fran Blumberg, F., Buday, R., DeSmet, A., Fiellin, L. E., Green, C. S., Kato, P. M., and Young, K. (2016) ‘Games for Health for Children—Current Status and Needed Research’. Games for Health Journal: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications 5 (1), 1-12.
- Bul, K., Franken, I., van der Oord, S., Danckaerts, M., Kato, P. M., Vreeke, L., Willems, A., van Oers, H., van den Heuvel, R., van Slagmaat, R., and Maras, A. (2015) ‘Development and user satisfaction of 'Plan-It Commander,' a serious game for children with ADHD’. Games for Health Journal 4 (6), 502-512.
- Kato, P. M., and Hill, P. (2015) ‘The Effects of a Serious Game on Knowledge of CKD, Hyperphosphatemia, and Phosphate Binders in CKD Patients Stage 4/5: A Prospective Multinational Study’. Nephrology Dialysis Transplant 30 (suppl 3), iii512.
- Baranowski, M. T., Lieberman, P. D., Buday, R., Peng, W., Zimmerli, L., Wiederhold, B., and Kato, P. M. (2013) ‘Videogame mechanics in games for health’. Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications 2 (4), 194-204.
- Kato, P. M. (2012) ‘Evaluating efficacy and validating health games’. Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications 1 (1), 74-76.
- Kato, P. M. (2010) ‘Video games in health care: Closing the gap’. Review of General Psychology 14 (2), 113-121.
- Kato, P. M., Cole, S. W., Bradlyn, A. S., and Pollock, B. (2008) ‘A video game improves behavioral outcomes in adolescents and young adults with cancer: A randomized trial’. Pediatrics 122 (2), e305-e317.
- PEGASO: Personalised Guidance Services For Optimising Lifestyle In Teenagers: Challenging teenagers in their own fields and areas of interest, PEGASO – Fit 4 Future - aims at promoting a sustainable change towards healthy lifestyles, with a holistic and multidisciplinary approach. Pivotal elements of the PEGASO strategy are:
Enhancing and sustaining motivation,
Promoting behavioural change towards a healthy lifestyle.
PEGASO strives to engage and encourage European adolescents to adopt healthier lifestyles, making informed and supported changes away from poor dietary or sedentary habits. With obesity on the rise across the EU and representing a major current and future public health challenge, PEGASO explores how innovative technologies such as serious games and wearable sensors can be coupled with behavioural and lifestyle expertise to address this problem. The impact of the project will be to enhance the well-being of current and future generations across Europe.
- MAGELLAN: MAGELLAN’s overall vision is to enhance the creativity of game designers by establishing a web platform for cost-effectively authoring, publishing, executing, and experiencing location based games. This unique integrated web-based infrastructure will be targeted at both skilled professional authors, but also at everyday authors without deep technical skills. MAGELLAN will be underpinned by scientific research into the principles and technologies of creative and location-based experiences in order to ensure that the platform is innovative while also extending our broader scientific understanding of creativity.
- PERGAMON: PERGAMON aims to facilitate the matching between providers of innovative ICT technologies on the supply side and the creative industry operating in the field of serious games on the demand side. Specifically, the PERGAMON project aims to support the adoption by the creative industry of an innovative technology framework for the development of pervasive serious games able to provide a personalized gaming experience.
PERGAMON’s main objectives are:
• to implement and pilot test a gaming framework that helps the creative SME to develop pervasive serious games in an effective and efficient way
• to develop new emotional and engaging serious game concepts integrated with personalized user assistance by means of a Virtual Coach and Artificial Intelligent functions.
• to set up a flexible gaming framework that is expandable so that additional services can be added at any time
• to connect the creative SME with the business network operating into the serious games international market
• to facilitate strategic business alliance between creative SMEs and providers of leading edge ICT technologies.
The pervasive serious game framework will be built on the following components:
• a Sensor Network for monitoring the player by means of wireless sensors
• a virtual Coach delivering personalized assistance to the player in the real life
• a Game Guide that adapts the challenges presented in the game and their level of difficulty to the data collected by the sensor network and to the user's interaction with the game itself
• a Dashboard accessible through a web site
• social and pervasive game dynamics that encourages players to engage in challenges of increasing difficulty.
The new concept of digital game can be used in various application contexts (health care, corporate training, education, government etc.) but will initially be implemented and tested for the empowerment of chronic disease patients.
- SimAULA: SimAULA will setup a virtual practicum in the form of a three-dimensional, online world adapted in the context of teaching-learning in school. Both active teachers and teachers-to be will interact with avatars, develop lesson plans, and teach in the virtual classrooms. In order to provide interesting and effective learning activities, this project will focus on the pedagogical side based on the knowledge of teachers and pedagogic and psychology experts to define the behaviour model of the virtual students and create simulations and situations that are both pedagogically and educational sound.
SimAULA will take advantage of serious games technology to make the learning scenario engaging and interesting for the student. Via simulations, teachers will practice their teaching and classroom management skills within a fun and safe educational game environment. SimAULA output will be a training platform that will empower universities and schools with a very innovative simulation system that will enable them to enhance the teaching abilities of their students though result-driven classroom practices.
- OrbEEt: ORganizational Behaviour improvement for Energy Efficient adminisTrative public offices: Tertiary sector buildings sector consume a sizeable proportion of EU total energy consumption and the majority of consumption is directly attributed to the operational phase of the building life-cycle. Occupant behaviour is a major cause of this consumption. OrbEEt proposes an ICT-based framework to induce behaviour change toward energy efficiency by transforming energy measurements into personalized feedback delivered through engaging user interfaces.
To achieve this challenge, OrbEEt foresees dynamic, spatially fine-grained extensions of building-level Operational Rating methodologies and Display Energy Certificates to provide a detailed view of energy use in office spaces, business processes and organizational entities rather than entire buildings. The fusion of information from Building Information Models, Business Process Models and real-time energy use measurement via a comprehensive ICT cloud service - the Systemic Enterprise Operational Rating framework - will enable energy use tracking and will establish direct accountability of people, processes and spaces toward overall consumption.
Exposing the direct influence of occupant behaviour on energy use enables the design and successful deployment of behavioural change campaigns in public organization buildings. OrbEEt proposes interventions appealing to intrinsic/extrinsic human motivators through intra-organization social competitions and organization-wide social collaboration endeavours.
The OrbEEt framework and behavioural change interventions will undergo real-life pilot validation in four EU public buildings that provide the business, cultural and geographical diversity for demonstration of result effectiveness and transferability.
Finally, the OrbEEt consortium will use a User Driven Innovation Approach throughout its development, deployment and validation of phases to leverage and actively support Open Innovation and the EU Cleanweb/start-up community toward further exploitation of its outcomes.