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IL: CCOM Students Participate in Poverty Simulation

August 27, 2019

by Office of Communications

The new class of students at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) participated in a poverty simulation in order to gain a greater understanding of the hardships many people face. Poverty creates barriers to many health services and can contribute to overall poor health for the more than 43 million Americans who live below the poverty line. The activity was organized by the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) chapter on the Downers Grove Campus as part of the new student orientation week and was developed by the Missouri Association for Community Action.

"This simulation is important because as future physicians we will be encountering people who are living in poverty and experiencing similar situations. As physicians, we need to understand our patients so we can provide compassionate care," said Trisha Calma (CCOM 2022), one of the student organizers of the event.

As part of the simulation, CCOM students were assigned the roles of 26 different families facing poverty. Some of the families were experiencing unemployment, some had recently lost their income provider, some were homeless, and others were senior citizens receiving disability benefits or grandparents raising their grandchildren. The task was to make ends meet on extremely limited resources during the course of a simulated month. In addition to the role of family members, other students acted as community partners including bankers, social workers, rent collectors, police officers, teachers, and community health doctors. At the conclusion of the simulation, SOMA members led the new students through a debriefing period to discuss their experiences.

During their orientation, CCOM students also spent a day volunteering at local community organizations as a means to gain greater empathy and understanding about the community they will serve as future health professionals.

More Information

For more information, please contact:
Office of Communications
630.515.7333 (IL) or 623.572.3353 (AZ)