Since NN/LM NER Technology Grant #13868 'Empathy Learned Through an Extended Medical Education Virtual Reality Project' and subsequent grant, 'Empathy Learned Through a Physician Assistant Virtual Reality Project,' were such successes at the University of New England UNE, this grant proposal seeks to continue and solidify the project. Specifically, UNE Library Services will collaborate with the College of Osteopathic Medicine COM to compare three virtual reality experiences related to older adult health with first and second year medical students. The technology immerses users into hypothetical situations that provide a first-person perspective on living with aging-related diseases to increase empathy and understanding in 126s and students, imparting knowledge about aging, dignity, and the importance of making meaningful connections in order to thrive. Comparing efficacy of modules related to macular degeneration and hearing loss, Alzheimer Disease, and end-of-life conversations and decision making will help inform use of the technology going forward. In addition, data collected from other health professions programs who continue to use the educational interventions will contribute to the project. VR stations will be available at UNE Libraries on both campuses and students will complete a virtual reality assignment as part of the curriculum. Students will be introduced to information resources available from the National Library of Medicine NLM related to older 88' health, geared to healthcare providers, patients, and their families. A pre and post assessment will help assess students' experiences including changes in attitude and knowledge, particularly regarding empathy. For the first time, this project will use a validated assessment tool or combination of tools to measure changes in empathy. It is expected that the virtual experiences will provide insights and a gateway into the world of an older adult, thereby supporting t

Project Details

Organization Name

University of New England - Jack S. Ketchum Library

Organization Type
Academic institution
Project Lead


Start Date
May 1, 2018
End Date
April 30, 2019
Funding Amount
Student, College & Post-grad
Educator, College & Post-grad