ABSTRACT VISA-IS/US GAMES
The Issue: Many Hispanic youth face culturally related challenges such as discrimination, being perceived as
a “threat” by White and Black Americans, having to juggle and reconcile their heritage and US cultural
systems, and acculturation conflicts with parents. These cultural challenges are also related to schooling: in the
US, school “success” is often defined in individualistic terms – getting good grades, scoring well on
standardized tests, and leaving home to attend a prestigious university. These definitions of success may clash
with core Hispanic values toward supporting family and residing at home until marriage. Thus, the
individualistic definitions of success often applied within the US school system, may not resonate with Hispanic
youth – and these youth may not bond well enough with school to do their best work. Perhaps as a result,
Hispanic youth are overrepresented among school dropouts and underachieving students, as well as among
incarcerated individuals. Programs are needed to help Hispanic youth to face their cultural challenges
successfully and achieve in school. Especially needed are scalable and easily accessible programs that lend
themselves to widespread implementation.
The Solution: The goal of this Phase I project, Virtually Empowering Schools with Adolescent Immigrant
Students (VISA-IS) is to examine the feasibility and acceptability of digital serious games designed to help
Hispanic youth address cultural challenges and overcome barriers to school engagement (where many of
these barriers are culturally based). The proposed commercial name is US Games. The goal of his project is
to examine the feasibility and acceptability of the digital serious game. As part of the proposed study, we will
work with our expert panel to design four EduGames to focus on coping with discrimination, developing a
sense of ethnic identity, interacting with other ethnic groups, and becoming comfortable with biculturalism.
Each of these cultural issues are related to school bonding and performance. We will develop 10-minute
prototypes for each of the four EduGames. Then, we will ask Hispanic youth and teachers to play the games
and provide feedback in separate youth and teacher focus groups. Provided the feasibility and acceptability
ratings are 4 or higher on a 1-5 scale, we will proceed to develop and test full versions of the four EduGames
in a Phase II trial.
The Team: The 12-month Phase I project will engage a seasoned and experienced transdisciplinary team of
experts from the fields of psychology, public health, intervention research, and digital media technology who
have successfully worked together on similar projects.
The Study: Our study is guided by two primary aims: (1) develop the 10-minute game prototypes in
collaboration with our expert panel, youth advisors and teachers; and (2) evaluate acceptability and feasibility
using both quantitative (Likert scale surveys) and qualitative (focus group) methods.NARRATIVE VISA-IS/US GAMES
Hispanic youth face important cultural challenges in the US, including discrimination, being blamed for many of
the country’s social problems, having to reconcile their cultural heritage with US culture, and experiencing
acculturation conflicts with parents. These cultural challenges may be linked with poor school bonding and
performance among many Hispanic youth. In the proposed study, we will address this problem by developing
four virtual reality, serious games to help Hispanic youth address these cultural challenges and improve their
school bonding and performance. This project responds to three Healthy People 2030 proposed goals– 1) Eliminate
health disparities, achieve health equity, and attain health literacy to improve the health and well-being of all. 2)
Create social, physical, and economic environments that promote attaining full potential for health and well-being for
all and 3) Promote healthy development, healthy behaviors and well-being across all life stages.