Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology

Committee Chair

Brueckner-Collins, Jennifer

Author's Keywords

Cultural competency; Second Life; LGBT; Virtual reality; Education


Virtual reality--Social aspects; Second Life (Game)--Social aspects; Discrimination in medical care; Toleration


Purpose: This study provides preliminary evidence that the use of technology, particularly the virtual world of Second Life™, can break down barriers by enhancing student interest in and satisfaction with the content. Methods: A pre-conference survey was administered to students attending the University of Louisville Cultural Competency Workshop series; six questions examined students' attitudes toward the LGBT community. Two health care scenarios were presented to students attending the LGBT sessions, either the traditional workshop setting, or a virtual Second Life™ session. A post-session survey was administered to students in the LGBT breakout sessions. Results: Using Second Life™ to present the LGBT health care scenarios significantly enhanced students’ self reported sensitivity and compassion for LGBT patients and awareness of disparate health problems in the LGBT population. Conclusion: Second Life is an effective tool to enhance student interest and mastery of the sensitive nature of LGBT disparities in the healthcare industry.