First-year medical students of The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) recently experienced the effects of poverty during a two-hour simulation and de-briefing with various human service agencies and local civic and community leaders. As part of TCMC’s Patient Centered Medicine MD course, the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) is designed to help students experience the virtual realities of living in poverty day so they can address the cultural disparities of patients living in lower socio-economic classes. Using a simulation kit, students role-played the lives of low-income families. Students interacted with human service agencies, grocers, pawn brokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officers and more who were portrayed by TCMC staff and local agencies, civic and community volunteers. The simulation was designed to raise awareness of cultural disparities and the need to understand the whole patient when treating symptoms and diseases. Some of the participants, from left, first row: Mary Acquaviva, community volunteer; Dr. Jennifer Joyce, education/course director, TCMC; and Sister Ann Walsh, Friends of the Poor. Second row: Carol Chaykosky, Area Health Education Center; Gretchen Hunt, Commission on Economic Opportunity; Maureen Sullivan, Friends of the Poor; Michael Hanley, executive director, United Neighborhood Centers; Tony Acquaviva, community volunteer; and Dr. Francis Dawgert, pediatrician and TCMC faculty.