Now Viewing: Video

Can Virtual Reality Make Us More Empathetic?

Jun 29, 2016, 2:00 PM, Posted by Deborah Bae

Virtual reality is proving to be a tool to help build the human capacity to care about the realities of others—something that’s needed to tackle social issues like homelessness.

A man tests out a virtual reality headset. Photo Credit: Maurizio Pesce/ Flickr via CC by 2.0

San Francisco media took the unprecedented step of putting aside competitive interests and devoted an entire day of coverage to the issue of homelessness in the Bay Area. Frustrated at inaction over the city's homeless crisis, local newsmakers have flooded the airwaves and filled pages of newsprint to focus attention on the problem and potential solutions.

Homelessness is not just something San Franciscans are struggling with. On any given night, over 1/2 million people in the U.S.—including children and families—are homeless, according to the National Alliance to End Homeless.

Tackling tough issues like homelessness requires empathy. Having empathy for those in need is a vital first step toward action. We’ve seen events that enable people to “walk a mile” in the shoes of a homeless person be effective at helping build understanding and compassion for the homeless. But what would it mean if people could walk a virtual mile in another’s shoes? Could the immersive nature of virtual reality help us reach more people and build lasting empathy?

Working with researchers at Stanford University, that’s exactly what we hope to find out.

View full post

Google Hangout Convenes Culture of Health Prize Winners to Discuss Lessons Learned in Creating Healthy Communities

Aug 19, 2014, 5:55 PM

Watch the recording of the August 14 Google Hangout where three RWJF Prize winners discuss what it takes to build a Culture of Health.

This past June, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced the six winners of its 2014 Culture of Health Prize, which honors communities that place a high priority on health and bring partners together to drive local change. Each community, selected from more than 250 across the nation, received a no-strings-attached $25,000 cash prize in recognition of their accomplishments.  

Last week, RWJF brought together representatives from two of this year’s winners and one from last year in an online discussion, “Building a Culture of Health: What Does it Take?” Each community representative spoke about the barriers they’ve faced, how they overcame them and the role partnerships play in their ongoing success.

The discussion was moderated by Julie Willems Van Dijk, co-director of the RWJF County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and director of the RWJF Culture of Health Prize.

Alisa May, executive director of Priority Spokane and representing 2014 winner Spokane County, Wash., said that as a largely rural community of 210,000 people they’ve placed an emphasis on improving education at all levels. And they took a data-centric approach.

“Priority Spokane—which is a collaboration of community leaders—looked at the data, pulled community members together to talk about the issues that were most important to them, and educational attainment rose to the surface,” said May.

View full post

Brazil Group Sends a Memorable Pedestrian Safety Message

Sep 6, 2012, 4:35 PM

How do you get a public health message to stick? That’s the ultimate quest. And clever thinking is behind some recent campaigns including PSAs by “Glee” cast members to urge  teens to stop texting when they drive, and the “Tips From Former Smokers” series from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows the potential ravages of smoking.

A novel and very memorable campaign by a Rotary Club in Brazil joins the list. As reported by The Atlantic Cities, the club was determined to help lower the country’s high pedestrian fatality rate and so engaged some local athletes to make absolute sure that pedestrians can safely cross the crosswalk, with no cars in the way.

The campaign, called “Respect Life, Respect the Crosswalk,” goes to new heights in pursuit of the public’s health. Watch the video to see how...

>>Read the full story from The Atlantic Cities.

>>Watch the video:

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.