Online Program

Virtual reality-based training for motivational interviewing around childhood obesity – are pediatricians “game”?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Linda Radecki, MS, Department of Child Health and Wellness, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, IL
Alison Baker, MS, Department of Child Health and Wellness, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, IL
Jeanne Lindros, MPH, Department of Child Health and Wellness, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, IL
Ron Goldman, Kognito Interactive, New York, NY
Glenn Albright, Ph.D., Psychology, Baruch College, New York, NY
Institute of Medicine reports advocate for early prevention and treatment of childhood obesity yet pediatricians cite inadequate tools to support often challenging interactions with families. While motivational interviewing (MI) has shown to be effective in the patient-physician encounter, many feel unprepared to use this strategy. In-person MI training is expensive & limited in geographically isolated areas. Innovative, cost-effective teaching approaches are needed. Virtual reality technology (VRT) is emerging as an efficacious method to teach professionals and nonprofessionals communication skills around suicide prevention & substance abuse. This presentation examines the acceptability & feasibility of using gaming technology to train pediatricians in MI around childhood obesity. Component 1 - participants tested a VR simulation module & completed pre/post surveys. Component 2 - telephone-based debriefing interview. 35 pediatricians took part (57% female; M age=44 years). Most lacked prior MI training. Response to the VR experience was overwhelmingly positive. 97% agreed that VRT can be effective for learning MI around child weight concerns. Advantages over traditional teaching methods contributed to acceptability. Participants valued the module's built-in features like emotionally responsive avatars, an “undo” button, and a virtual coach allowing experimentation with different MI strategies while engaged in simulated conversation. Feasibility study findings suggest that VRT may be a highly acceptable & cost-effective way to teach pediatricians MI strategies. Participants valued the technology's sophistication & ability to create realistic scenarios & authentic conversations with immediate, personalized feedback. VR-based learning can create a non-threatening, conveniently accessible extended classroom to build MI skills.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the importance of early prevention and treatment in childhood obesity. Describe the value of motivational interviewing to promote healthy childhood weight. Identify aspects of acceptability and feasibility important to pediatricians in a virtual reality training module about motivational interviewing for childhood obesity.

Keyword(s): Obesity, Pediatrics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Albright is the former Chair of the Department of Psychology at Baruch College and has received distinguished teaching awards at both Baruch and New York University. He is actively involved in publishing and presenting at numerous conferences addressing how game-based role-play training simulations can cost-effectively support public health initiatives designed to impact large numbers of people to bring about permanent changes in behavior in the areas of health, and behavioral health.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Kognito Interactive Director of Applied Research Co-Founder

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.