The Medical Spanish elective, beginning in the first year, helps students become fluent with medical terms to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients, a population that is increasing demographically. Some students take Medical Spanish to prepare for "away electives" in Spanish-speaking countries.
Currently there are three levels of the elective:
- Medical Spanish I: primarily in English; proper pronunciation an use of common expressions; exposure to basic Spanish medical terminology and culture, and awareness of culture in daily interactions with patients and others.
- Medical Spanish II: in English and Spanish; additional vocabulary, Spanish medical terminology and cultural exposure; more facility with the language to communicate with patients and their families.
- Medical Spanish III: almost totally in Spanish; greater conversational skills to discuss symptoms, treatments and expected outcomes with patients and family members; familiarity with dialects, idioms, accents and refining previous knowledge.
An Elective Is Born
Maria Lourdes Fallace, Spanish instructor
The Medical Spanish elective began in 2006, the brainchild of Elizabeth Dawson and Dani Yerdon (class of '09). They recognized the need for Spanish-speaking health care providers, circulated a petition, found data to back their proposal for an elective, and approached Steven Scheinman, MD, Dean of the College of Medicine. Their request was granted, and Medical Spanish was born.
Read more in an article on the Medical Spanish elective from the Summer 2007 Alumni Journal.