Poverty simulations allow students, faculty, and community partners to engage mutually in important complex issues. Layering the development of such simulations within a disaster context allows further complexity while fostering professional development skills, social justice attitudes, and community knowledge. This article delineates the development and implementation of a poverty simulation exercise. Students researched and led seminars based on the social determinants of health model to understand the complexities and systems involved in preparing for and recovering from a disaster. Employing the experiential education model, the authors created an interactive learning environment that conveyed the relationships between poverty and disaster vulnerabilities in reflection of professional roles for students and simulation participants. Participant experience calls attention to a gap in emergency management curricula and partially fills it in through interprofessional and interdisciplinary community engagement. 


Jeffrey L. Pellegrino

Jeffrey L. Pellegrino is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Management/ Homeland Security at the University of Akron. He specializes in community-based education for the resiliency of individuals and populations. His doctorate in community education, MPH, and M.A. in Experiential Education all looked through a lens of justice and health, which he now brings to the classroom and research. He earned a Ph.D. In Educational Leadership from the University of Dayton, an MPH from Kent State University, and an M.S. in Educational Leadership from Minnesota State University.

Samuel Hudik

Samuel Hudik is a fourth-year Emergency Management student at the University of Akron. His research and professional interests include mitigation and preparedness, workplace safety, preparedness behavioral trends, and environmentally sustainable mitigation strategies. Samuel is an Executive Board member of the University of Akron International Association of Emergency Management Student Chapter.

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No. 14 Drowning in Poverty: Student Learning and Education Through Simulation