Document Type


Journal Title

Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology

Publication Date



BACKGROUND: Pandemic circumstances created challenges for doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students to understand social determinants of health (SDH) in clinical rotations. Instead of canceling clinical rotations, a virtual reality cinema (cine-VR) education series was implemented. The purpose of this project is to describe the effect of this simulated immersion on student empathy and attitudes toward diabetes.

METHOD: The DPT students (n=59) participated in 12 cine-VR education modules, completing surveys at three time points as part of coursework. The students completed baseline measures of the Diabetes Attitude Scale-Version 3 (DAS-3) and Jefferson Empathy Scale (JES), and then were immersed in 12 cine-VR modules. One week after module completion, students participated in a class discussion about the modules. The students repeated the JES and DAS-3 scales at postclass and six weeks later. Three subscales from the Presence Questionnaire (PQ) were used to measure the virtual experience.

RESULTS: Student scores on three DAS-3 subscales significantly improved on posttest: Attitude toward patient autonomy, Mean: 0.75, SD: 0.45;

DISCUSSION: These modules can allow for a shared student experience that improves diabetes attitudes, increases empathy, and fosters meaningful classroom discussion. The cine-VR experience is flexible, and modules allow students to engage in aspects of a patient's life that were not available otherwise.




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