University of South Florida

Health self-management video game created by USF College of Nursing professor

Dr. John Clochesy today attends a White House conference where a mental health version of the innovative, interactive technology will be featured

Tampa, FL (Sept. 16, 2013) –  University of South Florida nursing professor John Clochesy, PhD, RN, working with an interdisciplinary team of scientists, has created an electronic self-management resource training (eSMART) platform to help teach people how to better communicate with their healthcare providers. It’s like a video game for your health.

A behavioral health adaptation of the interactive technology was showcased at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the White House as part of a research presentation for the Technology Innovations for Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders conference. Dr. Clochesy will attend alongside presenter Melissa Pinto, PhD, RN, Emory University School of Nursing assistant professor and one of the members of the multisite research team creating the three-dimensional, avatar-based program allowing individuals to interact with virtual healthcare providers. The team members who created this are researchers from USF’s colleges of nursing, public health and engineering, as well as from other institutions across the country.

Dr. Clochesy directed a project that led to the original interactive software program, known as Electronic Self-Management Resource Training Reduce Health Disparities (eSMART-HD). That project was funded in part by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

“The eSMART-HD program is designed to empower people from medically and socially disadvantaged groups to more effectively self-manage their chronic illnesses, including negotiating for what they want and need,”  Dr. Clochesy said. “The system helps people interact with their healthcare provider as realistically as possible. Participants were amazed at how much they learned during this virtual experience, and how real the entire process was.”

John Clochesy_PhD_RN_inside

John Clochesy, PhD, RN

“At the USF College of Nursing we’re focused on new ways to help those with chronic illness and their families manage illness, overcome challenges, and live life more fully,” said Dianne Morrison-Beedy, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN, senior associate vice president of USF Health and dean of the College of Nursing, “Through our Center for Living with Chronic Illness we continue to conduct research that really changes lives.”

“The presentation at the White House gives us an opportunity to show the nation how our interdisciplinary, inter-institutional research collaborative is transforming healthcare and transforming the lives of Americans – from those with symptoms of depression to those with chronic health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes,” Dr. Clochesy said.

The results of one the publications from the collaborative project, and the full list of all authors can be seen here.


The adaptations of eSMART-HD are  Electronic Self-Management Resource Training for Mental Health (eSMART-MH), and Electronic Surrogate Decision Maker Resources and Tailored Training (eSMART-TT). eSMART-MH, shown to significantly  reduce depressive symptoms in young adults, will be presented at the Technology Innovations for Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders Conference. Dr. Pinto, who created eSMART-MH’s content and is the mental health expert for the collaborative team, will discuss the use of eSMART technology in patients with mental health issues, and present the promising study results.

Dr. Clochesy said the team is exploring making the promising eSMART technology available to hearing-impaired patients, and expanding to different platforms including smart phones, iPADs, and other tablets. For more on the eSmart collaborative projects, including a download of eSMART-HD, visit

-USF Health-

USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a global research university ranked 50th in the nation by the National Science Foundation for both federal and total research expenditures among all U.S. universities. For more information, visit

Media contact:
Ashlea Bailey, College of Nursing Communcations
(813) 396-9642 or







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