UNE Library Services will collaborate with the College of Osteopathic Medicine COM to compare four virtual reality VR experiences related to older adult health with 1st and 2nd year medical students, and focus on analyzing the results. In addition, students in physical therapy, physician assistant, nursing, and other health professions programs will participate in the project. Embodied Labs EL technology immerses users into hypothetical situations that provide a first-person perspective on living with aging related diseases to increase understanding and empathy. VR stations will be available at UNE Libraries on both campuses and students will complete virtual reality assignments as part of the curriculum. An intake form to use with faculty will be developed and piloted to improve project workflow. Students will be introduced to information resources that are available from the National Library of Medicine NLM related to older adult health, geared to both healthcare providers, and to patients and their families. Pre-assessment and post-assessment tests will help assess students experiences, including changes in attitude and knowledge, particularly regarding empathy. Early results from the first 2.5 years of the project show that the VR experiences help increase understanding and empathy in students learning to be 126s. However, complete data analysis and interpretation has not yet been accomplished. With a fourth grant, it is expected that continuing the project and analyzing the data will provide definitive evidence of the VR projects efficacy, thereby supporting a model of person-centered care that is comprehensive and empathetic toward older adult patients.

Project Details

Organization Name

University of New England - Jack S. Ketchum Library

Organization Type
Academic institution
Project Lead

Barbara Swartzlander

Start Date
May 1, 2019
End Date
April 30, 2020
Funding Amount
Health care Provider
Library or Information Professional
Student, College & Post-grad
Behavioral/Social Determinants of Health