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Simulation for Understanding Health Discrepancies

Develop a simulation for Health Sciences students so they experience the cultural realities, access barriers, transportation issues, etc., of disadvantaged clients

Project Leader(s): Marina Galvez, School of Pharmacy
Collaborator(s): Ashleigh Barrickman and Gina Baugh, School of Pharmacy; Chuck Borghese and Geah Pressgrove, Reed College of Media; Linda Alexander and Audra Hamrick, School of Public Health; and Amy Summers, Office of Interprofessional Education

We often talk about the lived experiences of others when discussing the need for culturally sensitive communication and care in the domain of health discrepancies faced by marginalized communities. The challenge, however, becomes how do we expect students with limited life experiences to empathetically step into the shoes of another person. To this end, the aim of this proposed project is to “integrate social equity in the student experience and education” by developing a simulation that provides students an opportunity to experience the cultural realities, access barriers, stigmatization and other challenges that minority and marginalized American populations face when seeking care.

The simulation will be modeled after simulations developed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of W.Va. in the context of reentry post-incarceration. Over the course of an hour and a half, participants will assume the identity of an individual with a different lived experience than their own (e.g., BIPOC, LGBTQ, low SES, rural resident). During the simulation they will be tasked with seeking to attain basic healthcare (e.g., vaccine, physical, fill a prescription, weight loss support). Throughout the simulation they will be challenged by common roadblocks faced by these individuals (e.g., transportation, insurance, language barriers). At pre-determined points in the simulation the group will be brought together for reflection on the challenges they are experiencing. At the end of the simulation, participants will engage in a guided discussion with event facilitators debriefing with regards to their experiences and providing opportunities to reflect on their successes and failures.

This simulation will be a pilot exercise among students from School of Pharmacy, School of Public Health, and Reed College of Media, with the goal to scale-up to all Health Sciences students as an IPE experience in the following year.