October 2010

In this exercise, adapted from the MACA Poverty Simulation, participants took on a wide range of roles, from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens trying to tend to health issues while maintaining their self sufficiency on Social Security, among others. The task of each family was to provide food, shelter and other basic necessities as well as meet their family members’ health needs during the simulation. Participants simultaneously interacted with various community resources (social services, school, hospital, employer, etc.) staffed by volunteers. This tool enabled participants to experience the intersection health and poverty, and helped participants gain a unified vision of health reform as well as spark new ideas for adapting services to changing needs and diverse populations.

** A simulation consists of a half-day workshop in which participants walk in the shoes of others to gain an empathic perspective of a target population. Downloads and debriefs guide the interpretation of participants’ experiences.