International and Domestic Health Equity and Leadership (IDHEAL) UCLA Emergency Medicine

Poverty Simulation

On July 11, 2017 IDHEAL member Dennis Hsieh, MD, JD led a poverty simulation for over 30 residents, staff, and faculty from Harbor UCLA Medical Center and Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. The simulation, originally developed by the Missouri Community Action Network aims to assist participants in understanding the difficulties of those with financial hardship. Each participant is assigned a family, a situation and tasks they must complete in order to survive a simulated month, broken down into four 15 minute weeks. Participants must then work together to visit different stations such as the supermarket, the utility company, the mortgage company and their place of employment to accomplish tasks related to the activities of daily living. In a post simulation debriefing, participants felt the exercise was very useful in understanding the difficulties and frustrations experienced by our patients with financial hardship. We hope that this exercise will foster interest in the social determinants of health amongst the physicians of the Los Angeles County public hospitals.IMG_4185