Masters Thesis Defense “Design and Development of an Immersive Simulation for Social Determinants of Health Training” By Lahari Surapaneni

Friday, December 13, 2019, 10 am to Noon
304 Russ Engineering
Current Students

Committee:  Drs. Yong Pei, Advisor, Paul J. Hershberger, Co-Advisor (Family Medicine), and Mateen Rizki


This thesis research project focus on design and development of an immersion simulation-based training tool that help raise the social determinants of health (SDOH) awareness among the health care providers. Compared to existing classroom lecture and/or role-play based SDOH education approach, our immersion-simulation based approach provides an easy access and highly realistic experience to such training curriculum at anytime and anywhere with an Internet connection. Such an interactive and immersive exposure is critical to raise SDOH awareness and maintain long-lasting sympathy towards actual patients in practice, and thus help providers to be better prepared when encountering with those patients.

We take advantage of the latest advances in mobile VR technologies to create the new SDOH training mobile game that is made available using tablets and smartphone devices. Particularly, this thesis has contributed to the first mobile virtual immersion dedicated for SDOH training. It presents specifically such Social determinants of health as numerous adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), SUD, race and ethnicity, unemployment, and single mothers. Finally, a preliminary validation was carried out to assess its acceptance and effectiveness as a training tool. It is evident from the data that this simulation is an effective learning platform that helps providers: 1.) decrease any negative biases toward patients like Ebony; and, 2.) be a more understanding health professional.

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