Purpose: In this pilot study, researchers explore an online animated simulation as an educational tool for emerging health professionals to promote cultural competence of poverty, food insecurity, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.Methods: Researchers recruited participants in the allied health sciences for focus groups to explore the effectiveness of an online animation in promoting cultural competence of poverty, food insecurity, and public assistance programs. Participants were asked about their experience with the educational tool and changes in cultural competence regarding poverty, food insecurity, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Participants also responded to five survey questions about their experience of the educational tool and cultural competence of poverty. Transcripts from focus groups were coded according to the five constructs of the Campinha-Bacote model for cultural competence, and further coded for recurring themes within these constructs.

Results: Eleven participants across four allied health professions including nutrition, occupational therapy, nursing and pre-physical therapy participated in two focus groups. Researchers found all five constructs of the Campinha-Bacote model in analysis of focus group transcripts, with awareness and desire expressed more frequently and intensely. Participants stated the animated simulation increased their empathy for people who experience poverty, food insecurity and who need public assistance programs.

Conclusion: Researchers find that this online animated simulation was an effective tool to improve cultural competence of poverty for emerging healthcare professionals. Use of similar animations by educators of healthcare professionals may also change existing negative views towards those who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and reduce the barrier of stigma associated with the program.

Author Bio(s)

Kimberly E. Johnson, PhD, RDN is an Assistant Professor in the Nutrition Department at West Chester University. She researches and teaches social theory of food and nutrition, social determinants of health, and public engagement in the science and policy of food and food environments and its impact on health and citizenship.

Thomas Pantazes, MA Ed, CFD, holds an MA in Education from the College of William and Mary. He has experience supporting instructors with technology integration and online learning pedagogy. A licensed educator, Tom taught both online and face to face courses.

Melissa Fleck, MS, completed an MS in Community Nutrition at West Chester University and is currently completing a dietetic internship.


The research for this pilot project was funded by the College of Health Sciences at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Student Faculty Research Award for Spring 2017.




Submission Location


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