The Community Action Poverty Simulation


Lakiesha C Tidwell; Madalynne Wilkes-Grundy, MD; Shari G Chevez, MD; Anna Khachikyan

Abstracts from the Kaiser Permanente 2019 National Quality Conference

From Southern California

Background: The Community Action Poverty Simulation promotes a greater understanding of poverty in breaking down stereotypes and allowing participants to experience poverty and step into the real-life situations of others. During the simulation, participants role-play the lives of low-income families from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain their self-sufficiency on Social Security. The simulation opens your eyes to poverty and barriers to health care access.
Results: According to the Official Poverty Measure, 14.9% of all Californians, and 20.3% of California children, lived in poverty in 2013. California had the 16th highest overall poverty rate of the 50 states, and the 17th highest child poverty rate. The 2014 US Census has 16.4% of California population living in poverty. Poverty is a major cause of ill health and a barrier to accessing health care when needed. This relationship is financial: The poor cannot afford to purchase those things that are needed for good health, including sufficient quantities of quality food and health care. More than 90% of children living in the US and living in poverty were born in the US. Children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds have poorer health outcomes.
Discussion: The Community Action Poverty Simulation is a powerful, interactive experience designed to help participants understand what a typical low-income family goes through just trying to survive from month to month. A goal is to sensitize participants to the realities faced by low-income people and how those social and cultural contexts impact health care. A deeper understanding of barriers to health care access, as well as of their causes and impacts on people living in poverty’s experience of care would help physicians and health care workers overcome these challenges and provide socially responsive care. Most importantly, it moves people to make a difference.

Abstracts from the Kaiser Permanente 2019 National Quality Conference


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