NMC’s Virtual worlds is starting a new project for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is intended to bring real world data into Second Life, to provide a place for education and public outreach– all in the CDC’s goal to “be everywhere”. See “Second Life” Lets CDC Be Everywhereâ€”All at Once
CDCÂ´s work to advance public health means going where people are. As every virtual person represents a real person, CDCÂ´s presence in Second Life offers yet another opportunity to learn and teach about public health. So, if there are thousands of people spending significant amounts of time online, where better to influence their health-related decision making? CDC messages of all kinds can be placed in this space for people to view passively or with which to become more actively engaged in efforts to improve their own health; and all of this in an environment of their own choosing.
Thanks to online metrics, CDC is also able to determine not only the types of information that people are seeking but how much time they spent reading about it and what information is subsequently sought. Second Life offers CDC the opportunity to develop a more complex portrait of how people seek, find, and use public health informationâ€”as opposed to simply a snapshot of some interaction between a member of the public and one particular database, etc. Presence in Second Life will allow CDC to refine what it offers through its websites and in response to public inquiries.
We will be working with the CDC’s stroing advocate for use of virtual worlds, John Anderton, who’s avatar is known as Hygeia Philo:
image courtesy of the CDC web site
For more about the CDC’s plans and ideas for second life, see the interview with John/Hygie published at Spare Change where, among other things, he described his entrance into this world
I began exploring YouTube as a means of disseminating CDC health content, and ran across a machinima presentation on Second Life, in March, 2006. Intrigued, I wrote a white paper to make the case to management for CDC to enter SL, and was authorized to explore and begin involvement. I created an avatar with purpose; Hygeia was the Greek muse of health, and the last name of Philo means ‘lover of,’ thus a CDC av with the metaphoric moniker of Hygeia Philo (lover of health) seemed perfectly appropriate
This project will unfold over the next few months- look for updates here.