Boston University Medical School Launches Virtual Social Determinants of Health Simulator w/ Virtway

BOSTON - April 6, 2021 - PRLog -- Virtway and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) announced today their joint collaboration through their product called the Virtual Social Determinants of Health Simulator that each 1st year BU Medical Student has completed.  All 160 first year medical students participated in a first-of-its-kind role-playing exercise inside Virtway's 3D virtual environment technology. Led by BUSM's Pablo Buitron de la Vega, MD, assistant professor of medicine, and BUSM medical students Celia Greenlaw, Lauren Dzera, Oluwatomisin Bello, Andrew Vallejo, BUSM continues to advance the fields of Community Health and Social Determinants of Health as they build innovative educational experiences and curricula. BUSM Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Suzanne C. Sarfaty, MD, and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Priya S. Garg, MD, supported the development and implementation of the initiative.

By working with Virtway, BUSM was able to develop an immersive training environment in which participants can experience some of the day-to-day challenges that people residing in socioeconomically   disadvantaged homes face, including stress, lack of access to basic needs and services, and the consequences of both on wellbeing and health outcomes. Virtway and BUSM believe that their collaborative efforts to develop virtual environments will help to better prepare healthcare professionals to provide care to vulnerable populations.

Students were assigned a role and learned the background of one of 20 different individuals facing the social and health effects of hardship. They then went into Virtway's 3D virtual environments from their own devices where they faced two virtual weeks in the life of their persona (which was condensed into 60 minutes).

The goal for the medical students is to understand the difficulties that socioeconomically disadvantaged families face by immersing into interactions with social services, schools, and healthcare professionals. The findings and results from the simulation will be submitted for publication with an eye toward expanding to other academic institutions throughout the U.S. as well as Central and South America. Beyond this program, Dr. Buitron de la Vega and BUSM will continue to study and adapt medical education to meet and advance the needs of the most vulnerable.

Virtway develops innovative 3D virtual environments for social impact. With the company's 3D virtual event & training technology, organizations can offer stakeholders worldwide access to immersive virtual training platforms from the devices they already use.

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