A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) recently held a poverty simulation. The event taught students to understand the challenges associated with poverty, building empathy and preparing them to better serve their future patients. ATSU faculty and staff acted as policeman, bankers, Department of Economic Security employees, bus drivers, and school teachers to simulate a community experience.
“The poverty simulation was real to me because I experienced a situation similar to this,” says third-year student MinJae Kim. “Growing up, my friends and I knew our parents worked so hard to make ends meet. It was barely enough, but in the end poverty trickles down and affects the children. Everyone in the family suffers when people live in poverty. The poverty simulation gave me a better idea of how much parents have to sacrifice for their families. I now realize how much my parents sacrificed for me. When I graduate and go work in these communities, I will have a better idea of how to motivate, inspire, and give hope to these people to break the cycle of poverty.”
Approximately 70 third-year dental students participated in the event. It was led by Lorree Ratto, PhD, chair of medical simulation and Lisa McNeil, medical simulation technician.