To pilot the use of virtual reality (VR) to advance public health, the de Beaumont Foundation is partnering with the American College of Preventive Medicine, Prevention Institute, and virtual reality developers from Brightline Interactive to create a VR experience that demonstrates the impact of policy on community health. Through the initiative, de Beaumont and its partners are exploring the potential of VR technology in the areas of training, education, and advocacy.
The pilot, titled “Health in All Communities: A Virtual Reality Experience,” was unveiled Nov. 2-6 at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Expo in Philadelphia, where attendees had a chance to preview the virtual experience and provide feedback.
The initial VR experience is intended to improve policymakers’ knowledge of the social determinants of health (SDOH) and their tangible impact on the health and well-being of communities. It is designed to complement other communications and outreach and spark conversations with other audiences, such as public health professionals, academics, and students.
The VR experience illustrates five environments from urban and suburban settings that demonstrate the impact of policy in housing, transportation, food access, and other areas.
Visitors to the de Beaumont Foundation booth at the APHA meeting are beta-testing the VR experience, using an Oculus Go headset to view five scenes (an urban community block, an apartment, a school cafeteria, a town square, and a residential neighborhood) showing the differences in communities with and without policies in place that affect housing, transportation, and food access.
If you have questions about the virtual reality project or want to give your feedback, contact Samantha Cinnick.