Here’s yet another story about how federal bureaucrats have come up with new and creative ways to spend our hard earned tax dollars. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending a whopping half a million dollars teaching physicians how to talk to fat kids. Seriously.
The nearly $500,000 study using “virtual role play” to coach doctors is the latest attempt by the federal government to combat obesity.
“Obesity in the United States is at historically high levels and is an important health problem,” the grant for the project states. “Interventions targeting children are a high priority because children bear the greatest lifetime health risk from overweight and obesity.”
“Health professionals in primary care settings are influential in the lives of families,” it continued. “Even brief advice delivered well can have a meaningful impact, and yet, health care providers indicate that lack of efficacy and skill, impact, patient motivation, and educational materials keep them from routinely addressing obesity prevention and treatment in their practices.”
The grant was awarded to SiMmersion, LLC, a communications training company that simulates conversations with virtual actors. In one example video a law enforcement officer interviews a neighbor of a man who “may be dealing drugs out of his house.” “On-screen assistants,” smaller computer animated people, give two thumbs up when the conversation is going well.
How did we ever survive before the government spend hundreds of thousands of dollars coming up with computer animated people to teach doctors how to talk to us?
This isn’t the only lucrative contract SiMmersion, LLC has had with the government. Read the whole thing to find out more. Some of the projects the company has worked on make this physician training sound like a bargain.