KCRSA' s Blog

KCRSA Spring 2023 Health Equity Simulation

KCRSA and the Mission Vision Project are honored to be hosting Simulation Experts from the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) on Friday, April 28th 2023 at a collaborative event funded by the Health Forward Foundation.

Health Inequities

This conference is for those looking for novel and high-impact ways to teach about bias, health inequities, and social determinants of health.


Attendees may include institutional and department leaders, curriculum developers, educators, faculty, program directors, content developers, academic healthcare educators, simulation practitioners, and medical directors.

Networking Potential

Not only is this topic exciting and thought provoking, the networking potential of this simulation event is immeasurable.

We are pleased to introduce
our UAB guests:

Marjorie Lee White


Marjorie Lee White is a Professor in the Heersink School of Medicine, Departments of Pediatrics and Medical Education and in the School of Health Professions, Department of Health Services Administration at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She is board certified in Pediatrics, Pediatric Critical Care and Pediatric Emergency Medicine and practices Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Children’s of Alabama. She was awarded a bachelor’s in history and American studies from Princeton University. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

She also obtained her Master’s in education from UAB and her Master’s in Public and Private Management from Birmingham-Southern College. She is currently Vice President for Clinical Simulation, UAB Medicine and Assistant Dean for Clinical Simulation, UAB School of Medicine.

Tamika Smith


Tamika Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Behavior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She earned her BS in Human Development and Family Services from the University of Alabama, MS in Counseling Psychology from the University of West Alabama, and her PhD in Health Education and Promotion from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Smith’s former work as a Social Worker for the State of Alabama inspired her to focus her research on first-time parenting and adolescent parents. Her research advanced to developing interventions that identify protective factor to decrease sexual risk behaviors that lead to HIV and STI acquisition among African American adolescents and emerging adults and exploring treatment as prevention for people living with HIV. 

Michelle Brown


Michelle Brown, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Health Professions Department of Health Services Administration. Michelle leads the Healthcare Simulation Master’s degree program as the founding program director. She teaches simulation design, advanced debriefing, patient safety, effective communication, and teamwork. Michelle’s primary research interests are in applying inter-professional simulation to promote effective teamwork and increase patient safety and exploring behavioral factors that impact provider decision-making. Additionally, Michelle is a nationally recognized leader in the fields of Medical Laboratory Science and Transfusion Medicine and is a distinguished recipient of the American Society for Clinical Pathology award as one of the nation’s 40 under 40 in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Chrystal Rutledge


Chrystal Rutledge is an Associate Professor in the Heersink School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Critical Care. She is currently the Medical Co-Director of the Pediatric Simulation Center at Children’s of Alabama and Director of the Children’s of Alabama Community Healthcare Education Simulation (COACHES) Program. She is also the Assistant Program Director for the Pediatric Residency Program and Medical Director of the Critical Care Transport Team @ Children’s of Alabama. Dr. Rutledge is a graduate of the University of Alabama’s School of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency at the University of North Carolina Hospital, and her pediatric critical care medicine fellowship at UAB. Her non-clinical activities focus on improving equitable health care for the children of Alabama through simulation education, DEI initiatives, and community outreach. She is a co-leader of the UAB Department of Pediatrics DEI Council and Co-Director of DEI efforts within the pediatrics residency program a co-leader of the UAB Pediatrics Health Equity Scholars Program, with a mission of training pediatric and medicine-pediatric residents to lead advances in health equity for children.

Questions posed to Educators

1. What inspired you to develop the computer-based health equity simulation?

We are committed to developing and implementing simulations that change society. We want simulations to help meet the Institute for Healthcare Improvements triple aim of improving the patient experience of care, improving the health of populations and reducing the per capita cost of care.

The COVID pandemic placed a spotlight on the pervasiveness of health disparities in America and was a catalyst for wanting to increase awareness of the health inequities people face when using the healthcare system. Using a computer based health-equity simulation allowed for us to maximize our impact by allowing a larger number of people to simultaneously experience bias in healthcare.

We wanted to design a simulation that could adequately reflect the emotional as well as the operational experience of bias in healthcare. It’s often difficult to adequately sympathize with others when their experience is outside of your own.  The Health Equity Sim allows participants to hopefully move from sympathy to empathy through a simulation experience of health inequity within the context of receiving care.

Our goal was to bring awareness to implicit biases. Going beyond didactic content is important when trying to enact behavior change. We wanted to provide participants with a first-person experience of experiencing bias while seeking healthcare. Additionally, it was important to teach people how to speak up when they encounter bias.  We drew on transformative learning theory to create an implicit bias curriculum.  Following transformative learning theory, we provide a 1) disorienting experience (screen-based simulation), 2) critical reflection (post-simulation debriefing), 3) skill acquisition (GRIT speaking up didactic), and 4) model behavior change (practice speaking up about bias).

2. Can you share how many participants have done this to date?

We’ve had >500 participants to date including those who participated in our developmental pilots. In addition, we’ve had over 50 of these participants indicate that they want to be facilitators in various locations around the country.

3. What has been some of your most proud outcomes of the simulation?

What has been exciting to see is the rich discussion the simulation and debriefing generates.  We have seen people apply biases they have experienced to the simulation – race, gender, weight, age.  Participants have shared some very personal experiences during debriefing, their vulnerability has been inspiring.

 It has been exciting to see how vulnerable people have been in sharing their own lived experiences after participating in this simulation. I have also been pleasantly surprised at how people who have not experienced biases in health care have felt this simulation has given them a small glimpse into how others may feel. Some have even said this simulation has empowered them to become better allies and activists in the fight to decrease health disparities.

I am most proud that the simulation we have developed so accurately depicts what happens in the context of care delivery.  We spent well over two years designing the simulation and we’ve had countless healthcare providers express how much the simulation reflects real life.

4. Who should participate in this simulation?

I believe the Health Equity simulation is one that leaders should bring to their units so that a broad spectrum of employees can participate. Self-selection will naturally draw people who are likely already aware of biases in healthcare.

Anyone who is a part of the healthcare team including family and friends or who aspires to work in healthcare should participate in this simulation. As this is a first-person experience, it allow each person to have a glimpse into what it may be like to experience bias as a patient in the healthcare system.

Everyone – from pipeline to practice!

5. What is the biggest benefit and challenge associated with using a computer platform for this simulation?

Some of the benefits are that there are no consumables, it is ready to deploy once you are trained. There is potential for broad reach since many people have computers and it is inexpensive to deploy. It can be conducted over Zoom with no geographical boundaries. It easily disseminatable to other institutions and organizations.

Some of our current challenges are that laptops & stable internet connection are needed. We also want to be sure we are offering facilitators appropriate training and support as it can lead to difficult, emotional conversation.

Please go to the registration page and
register now for the event:

Date: April 28, 2023
Time: 12:00-4:30 pm
Location: Kauffman Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64110

KCRSA is beyond excited to host this event and looks forward to seeing you there.

A special thank you to Mission Vision Project – Dr. Michael and Jamila Weaver and their work with Health Forward in sponsoring this wonderful event.

See you all in April and don’t forget your Laptop!

Jon Batenhorst

BA, NRP - KSCRA Board Vice President

EMS Captain – Education Division, Johnson County MED-ACT

Emily Hillman

MD, MHPE - KSCRA Board President

Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine;
Director of Simulation Education- UMKC School of Medicine

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