Walk in My Shoes™: Navigating the Health Care System
June 24, 2005


Jennifer Ryan


This session provided an interactive learning experience designed to demonstrate how the structure and financing of our health care system plays out for different people in different life situations. Walk in My Shoes™ participants were assigned a role that specified age, gender, health problems, employment and health insurance status, ethnicity, language, and immigration status. The task was to obtain health care for themselves and their family members during a one-hour “simulation” that represented four work weeks. Participants made their way through the various “stations”—the health plan, Medicaid office, private physician’s office, local health clinic, pharmacy, and the emergency room—to access the services they needed. They also had to find time to go to work and deal with child or elder care and other family issues. This session was designed to offer a practical understanding of the issues and challenges Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured face when attempting to utilize the health care system. The simulation was followed by a facilitated discussion that offered the opportunity to share experiences and reflect on how these experiences translate to real life.

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