Poverty simulation offers powerful lesson

School of Nursing hosting multidisciplinary learning activity to show health care providers harsh realities of poverty


The School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is hosting its first multidisciplinary poverty simulation. Medical, dental and nursing students from the Health Science Center will join social work students from The University of Texas at San Antonio for this life-changing experience.

During the simulation, students will learn the realities of life for their patients who live with the constant stress of poverty.

Participants role play the lives of low-income families. A student may be a single parent trying to care for his or her children, or a senior citizen with failing health trying to live on social security. Each family must use their nominal income to pay for housing, food and other necessities. The students learn how their patients must interact with various community resources in order to get assistance. They will learn the obstacles the underserved have to attaining health care.

The first 1½ hours is the role playing of a month in the life of someone experiencing poverty, and the second 1½ hours includes a de-briefing when participants review the experience, including how it made them feel and what happened to them during the “month.”

Eight zip codes in San Antonio have more than 50 percent of residents living below the poverty line. Thirty-one percent of San Antonio children live below the poverty line according to 2011 census data.


Facilitators of the poverty simulation from the Department of Family & Community Health Systems in the School of Nursing are Marion Donohoe, D.N.P., APRN, CPNP-BC, assistant professor; Martha Martinez, M.S.N., RN, clinical assistant professor; and Adelita Cantu, Ph.D., RN, assistant professor. Teri Boese, M.S.N., RN, director of the Center for Simulation Innovation, also serves as a facilitator of the poverty simulation.


1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 (NOTE: 1 to 2:30 p.m. has visuals)


Large galleria, second floor, School of Nursing
Media need to come to main entrance at the corner of Floyd Curl and Medical.
Guard at entry will direct media to special parking near event.


The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 29,000 graduates. The $765 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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