What is Medical Spanish?
The University of Texas-Pan American offers the nation’s only full program in Medical Spanish for Heritage Learners. Language barriers significantly compromise the quality of healthcare for limited English proficient patients. Recent studies have shown that Spanish-speaking patients have disease, mortality, and pain burdens at least twice as high as English-speaking patients. These facts make language a crucial concern for the improvement of health among Latinos in the U.S. The Medical Spanish program aims to develop critical skill sets that future healthcare providers can use to improve communication with Spanish-speaking patients.
Additionally, the curriculum is designed to raise awareness about language issues that intersect with access to healthcare among Spanish-speaking patients in the U.S. Students in the program participate in a service-learning internship at a local community health center that serves primarily uninsured and limited English proficient patients. These activities are intended to prepare students for the National Board Certification Examination for Medical Interpreters. The program meets the Training Program Standards issued by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care in 2011.
In addition to the undergraduate minor, the Department of Modern Languages and Literature offers a M.A. in Spanish with a concentration in Healthcare Interpretation and Intercultural Communication.