Document Type


Publication Date



Purpose: Biased perceptions of individuals who are not part of one’s in-groups tend to be negative and habitual. Because health care professionals are no less susceptible to biases than are others, the adverse impact of biases on marginalized populations in health care warrants continued attention and amelioration. Method: Two characters, a Syrian refugee with limited English proficiency and a black pregnant woman with a history of opioid use disorder, were developed for an online training simulation that includes an interactive life course experience focused on social determinants of health, and a clinical encounter in a community health center utilizing virtual reality immersion. Pre- and post-survey data were obtained from 158 health professionals who completed the simulation. Results: Post-simulation data indicated increased feelings of compassion toward the patient and decreased expectations about how difficult future encounters with the patient would be. With respect to attribution, after the simulation participants were less inclined to view the patient as primarily responsible for their situation, suggesting less impact of the fundamental attribution error. Conclusion: This training simulation aimed to utilize components of evidence-based prejudice habit breaking interventions, such as learning more about an individual’s life experience to help minimize filling in gaps with stereotyped assumptions. Although training simulations cannot fully replicate or replace the advantages that come with real-world experience, they can heighten awareness in the increase of increasing the cultural sensitivity of clinicians in health care professions for improving health equity.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.