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Monday, October 25, 2010

SPOTLIGHT FEATURE: In-Depth with Panacea Luminos & NY Health Scapes - Shon Charisma Reporting...
Panacea Luminos

Staff Reporter
• Monday, October 25, 2010
Last week, I introduced you to some of the fun of NY Health Scapes (and more comes next week!). This week, I focus on the amazing woman behind the development of NY Health Scapes, Panacea Luminos, and what she's doing to highlight the importance of health care in Second Life.

Panacea and I met at Healing Grounds Coffee Stop (slurl) before she took me around the sims, and here, we talked about what sparked NY Health Scapes--and more.

Healing Grounds Coffee Stop

SC = Shon Charisma
PL = Panacea Luminos

SC: Did you do all the building for NY Health Scapes?
PL: No, I hired many builders and bought a lot of prefabs from some great builders as well. I'm more the general contractor.

Panacea and me at Healing Grounds Coffee Stop

SC: What sparked you to create NY Health Scapes?
PL: Actually, I was looking for animation software to create some Consumer Education pieces on the value of access to your personal health information or record, PHR, and I stumbled upon Second Life and other virtual worlds as a way to create the "movie set" and then lay in the story and film it, but it kinda grew into this as I learned what was possible through scripting and community building. We still haven't done the machinima; that's next on the list.

SC: Wow. This is one helluva backdrop for that story, if I do say so myself. So, all of these boroughs are part of the story, too, of Health Scapes?
PL: Yes. In NY, there are 12 RHIO's, Regional Health Information Organizations, and the concept was to create backdrops for all the areas. We'll be laying in the info on each RHIO as well as where to find one anywhere in the USA. We also partner with several arts groups and give free land for projects here.

SC: The 12 RHIOs--there are twelve in NY, thus the 12 here in SL?
PL: Well, there are 20 sims here.
SC: I thought there were more when I traveled around. The free land for projects--I saw an art space near the Labyrinth [in WaterWay New York,slurl]. Is that one of the artists you were referring to?
PL: Yes, that is the DaVinci Isle group, and they have several galleries and hold different events here. I bought their sims when they were downsizing, but wanted to help keep alive what they do as they do it so well, so we all work together on projects, events. They also hold various weekly events throughout the sims here.

SC: Is there a way for people to keep abreast on these events?
PL: Yes, there are groups and dynamic calendars.
SC: OK, great. I saw the many tour guides and opportunities for boat and balloon rides and games and activities.
PL: And the train! Lots of fun. You can take a taxi to it across the street.
SC: Haven't been on the train yet, but I plan to. You know, I first heard about you in regards to the Breast Cancer Awareness Center you have...
PL: Yes, we first did it at RFL, Relay for Life. We have an Autism Awareness Center up as well as a Diabetes one almost finished. Eventually we'll have many Health Info Centers about the sims.

The Breast Cancer Awareness Center

When I toured the center by myself for the first time, I fell in love with the building. It allows for women to come and write their stories in a book, learn more about mammograms, and it provides a relaxing atmosphere. Those who "fight like a girl" can also go down to the gym and go at it with the bag or have tranquil time with some yoga.

Enjoying the gym at the Breast Cancer Awareness Center

The Autism Awareness Center is just as informative. While there, I learned of the history of Autism, major figures of that history, and also I learned of some painful ways in which people often went about trying to "control" people in the past who had problems. This part was interactive, and you can go and see for yourself some of the torturous inventions created all in the name of trying to make one "normal."

The Autism Awareness Center

SC: When will the Breast Cancer center be up and running at full capacity?
PL: Soon, it's mostly done. Just some tweaks to the game system. We are very interested in working with health experts in different areas, in RL and in SL, to partner and create these [centers]. We've secured the rights to some amazing patient education videos.
SC: Awesome.
PL: Just notecards of info is rather boring, so the idea here is to use games like treasure hunts, quizzes, storytelling, and art to engage people, so you visit and interact much like any other sim--music, events, even bunnies and horses.
SC: Considering this is a virtual world, something beyond text seems very appropriate.
PL: And if you choose, you can also engage in our work or not. We don't force it on anyone, but it's amazing the number of people who rent here--you get into a conversation and either they or someone they know has interest in the topics.

When Panacea and I discussed the videos--we were viewing one on breast cancer during the interview, she informed me she worked with the audio tech company Hermes, which created a viewer for her to use to air content. Hermes also built a center for NY Health Scapes, an exhibition space for conferences.

The exhibition area

PL: We hope to do some events on health information technology in early January and a virtual conference.
SC: I love the mix of play and education on such important subjects, such as health-related issues.
PL: Yes, well, people don't enter SL in large numbers seeking the info, so you have to serve it up as a side dish, :) At least, that's what I think. The exhibit center is multi-platformed, so I can run different presentations on different channels. It's a whole other world up in the air over the NY sims.
SC: Now that is impressive! Is this the space that Hermes helped you put together?
PL: They built the system and buildings, and I put the whole space together, landscaping, etc. It covers a full sim.

There was one question I wanted to ask but failed to do so: why bring these real life activities into Second Life? Although I didn't ask the question, Panacea provided me with information in which I found the answer to it...

From information--Second Life offers a low cost and far-reaching opportunity to engage health care consumers and professionals in a way that “real life” can’t match. In this virtual world, any healthcare situation (including procedures and emergencies) can be simulated as a hands-on, “learn-by-doing” experience. To tap this potential as an education and communication tool, STHLNY (Southern Tier HealthLink NY) has created a representation of New York State in Second Life called NY Health Scape. Visitors to the region will recognize famous landmarks and landscapes as they participate in activities designed to demonstrate the benefits of an HIE. Some activities (like presentations on chronic illnesses, fitness events, and health assessments) focus directly on consumer education, while others (like art exhibits, music, and dining) are in place to build a sense of community that will keep the region vibrant and evolving. These “entertainment” events may also have a secondary health education component, such as a Manhattan restaurant that offers low fat cuisine and recipes.

Needless to say, I was full of great information about NY Health Scapes and Panacea's inspiration for creating the space. As I concluded our interview, there was one question left lingering for me...

SC: What is your biggest hope with this huge undertaking?
PL: Building a community, whether in RL or in SL can be multi-faceted; experiences don't have to be all in one flavor. You can role play a theme of having a family and go do your shopping or visit a restaurant and get a little health info along the way. I really believe that at times, we all seek information. This is just another way to engage/provide it.
SC: Yes, we are information seekers by nature. We want to KNOW things. Having a space that tells a story around that info makes it all the better.
PL: Yes, exactly.

With everything that I saw during the trip along NY Health Scapes with Panacea, I couldn't help but see how cool and wonderful a project like this is. I'm particularly fond of the idea of developing a story to situate health education and activities in. Everyone loves a story, and everyone has told a story, and it is one of those activities that draws a person in to listen better, to not miss a word of the tale being told. To me, there's no better tale to tell than one of bettering your health. Everyone on Second Life, whether personally or through a loved one, has experienced health issues, but often, as I have experienced with some of the people I've met in SL, people go into virtual worlds to escape the issues that ail them, to have fun, to be entertained. NY Health Scapes is a space where you can do both and have a more enriched life because of it.

If you'd like to learn more about RHIOs, health information networks, virtual personal healthcare records, or more, feel free to contact me, and I will point you in the right direction! Below are some slurls of some important health-related spaces at NY Health Scapes.

Breast Cancer Awareness Center - slurl

HealthVillage New York - slurl
Experience visiting a fun and informative Health Village ~ learn the benefits of having your medical info available for providers; the Autism Awareness Center is here, too.

HealthLink New York - slurl
Virtual Wilson Medical Residency Program - training for residents, nursing and facility redesign.

HealthLink New York

Southern Tier HealthLink (STHL) Headquarters - slurl


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