LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– UNLV health schools teamed up for a poverty simulation on Saturday. The aim is to develop empathy and expose students to the impacts of poverty in the valley.
Nearly 80 students played different roles as they struggled with mostly low-income families
cope on a daily basis, including applying for a job and housing assistance, shopping for groceries, taking their children
to school and managing transportation needs.
“Poverty is not a problem of individual failure or individual responsibility, but it is a systemic and structural problem,” said Minnie Wood, director of clinical and community partnerships. “By having this personal experience, they can understand how all of our structures interact together to create huge barriers and obstacles for people trying to get out of poverty.”
The interactive teaching tool involved medical, dental and nursing students and highlighted how low-income families survive.
“At first it seemed very superficial and easy, but now that I’m actually in this situation and just seeing how families come to understand how to get to places and how to pay a mortgage, it kind of hit me.” , Yulin Lee , a dental student from UNLV, said. “I think those are things. Honestly, I was very oblivious.
During the simulation, random cues will change their roles and students must adapt in real time accordingly.
“As a nurse going forward, it’s our job to be compassionate and to be empathetic to people,” said UNLV nursing student Sylah Mamacaly. you never really know who you’re going to be cared for from, if they’re homeless, elderly, abused, or don’t have insurance, so that’s really telling.
Students acted out scenarios in 15-minute increments to complete their tasks quickly.