iThrive and the University of Utah Announce Empathy Games Competition

iThrive is one of the 5 Games4Health Challenge Sponsors offering prizes to students who develop digital games and apps that address health issues and promote empathy in adolescents

Nashville, TN, 1/12/2016 –  The University of Utah’s third annual Games4Health Challenge officially kicked off on January 11, 2016. With a total of $60,000 in prizes, the Games4Health Challenge invites gaming and health teams from across the globe to address real-world challenges facing well-being, home health and clinical needs via game design.

The iThrive Empathy Challenge is one of five sponsored challenges, and will provide US$8,000 in prizes for the development of concepts for digital games that seek to promote empathy in adolescents.

The contest is open to developers worldwide, with no entry fee. Each team must contain at least one student; games must be digital and available to play on the web, and in English. Full contest rules, including explanations and metrics for empathy, and a list of required contest deliverables are available online at Individuals and teams can register to compete at

During the competition, iThrive experts will provide guidance to competing teams on positive psychology, including empathy, and how its elements may be applied to transformational games for adolescents. iThrive and the Sorenson Center are assembling a team of well-known game developers and youth development experts to judge the contest. Winners for the iThrive Empathy Challenge will be announced March 31, 2016.  Additionally, winners and finalists will receive mentorship and support from iThrive over the summer, and may be eligible for display in iThrive’s “Psyched Up” Arcade, which will have a presence at multiple respected gaming conferences across the US starting next fall.

iThrive is an initiative created by the D.N. Batten Foundation in partnership with Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) to enhance the emotional well-being of adolescents through digital game applications of positive psychology. Games4Health is sponsored by the Sorenson Center for Discovery & Innovation at the David Eccles School of Business of the University of Utah, in association with the Center for Medical Innovation at the Health Science Department, and Entertainment and Arts Engineering at the School of Computing (which has one of the top rated gaming programs in the US).

“The unlimited interactive and creative environments found in digital games provide a unique opportunity to encourage adolescents to explore aspects of themselves,” said iThrive founder Dorothy Batten. “They can practice playing roles they may not have the opportunity or courage to do in their real lives, step into the shoes of others, develop new perspectives, find solutions to problems, and learn more effective ways of communicating and interacting with others. All of these skills can be utilized to cope with the obstacles and stressors that confront teens at school, home, and in their communities, and prepare them for future careers.”

About iThrive Initiative

The D.N. Batten Foundation in partnership with Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) launched iThrive, a charitable initiative to facilitate the development of digital games and applications that promote emotional well-being among adolescents. iThrive is fostering a cooperative ecosystem bringing together game developers, subject matter experts, investors and donors, researchers, and youth. Learn more about iThrive at or contact Heidi McDonald, Creative Director, at

About the DN Batten Foundation

The DN Batten Foundation provides opportunities for more people to live healthy, fruitful lives, especially through the promotion of healthier environmental conditions, emotional wellbeing, and increased access to quality mental health care. It is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Funding for iThrive has been provided by the D.N. Batten Foundation.

About Centerstone Research Institute 

Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care for those with mental health and addiction disorders. CRI provides research, analytics and evaluation services that help bridge the gap between the scientific discovery of effective treatments and the implementation of these treatments into standard clinical practice. CRI is funded through contracts, grants, foundations and individual donors who share the organization’s commitment to bridging the gap between science and service. Learn more about CRI at

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