Michigan AHEC's Southeast Regional Center Hosts Poverty Simulation

For two days in October 2018, the WSU College of Nursing, in partnership with Michigan AHEC's Southeast Regional Center, held Poverty Simulation training for WSU College of Nursing students and WSU School of Medicine students at Messiah Church in Detroit.

The training provides students with a unique opportunity to help them understand what life is like with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress. The goal of the training is to prepare students for the potential challenges facing their future patients and will increase their empathy and effectiveness as they care for patients facing these challenges.

Over 70 students and 10 community volunteers participated in the event. Using a simulation kit, students assumed the roles of families facing poverty and were assigned the task to provide for basic necessities and shelter and had to make decisions on how to spend what little money they were given in order to survive. Community volunteers took on the role of vendors representing community resources and services such as a bank, utility company, pawn broker, day care center, etc. As the students go through a simulated month (represented by four 15-minute "weeks") they tried to provide for their families while dealing with crime, utility shut-offs, unemployment and a host of other issues.

Since the WSU College of Nursing started holding Poverty Simulation for students in 2014, the program has continued to grow and expand. Future plans for the poverty simulation are to recruit other health professional programs to join in the simulation experience.