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UA to offer medically focused Spanish classes next semester

Nick Smallwood
(Left to right) UA Health Sciences – Hispanic Center of Excellence’s Sofia Ramos, Community Relations Consultant, Oscar Beita ,Assistant Director, and Alejandra Zapien-Hidalgo, Program Coordinator-Outreach, pose in the Arizona Hispanic Center of Excellence Office of Diversity and Inclusion on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. Starting spring 2017, health-science students will be offered Spanish courses, which are held by the program.

Students at the UA pursuing degrees in the health sciences may now register for Spanish-language courses that will be offered in spring of 2017. The courses have been tailored to provide students the Spanish skills they need within their health profession careers.

The UA’s Spanish and Portuguese department alongside the UA Health Sciences-Hispanic Center of Excellence, saw the need for these unique classes that would benefit not only the students who aspire to be future health care professionals, but the community at large.

Dr. Francisco Moreno, physician and director of the UAHS-HCOE, said that the mission is to “improve the health of the Hispanic population– locally and abroad.”

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UAHS-HCOE believes that by increasing the representation of health providers that have studied Spanish linguistics and are culturally conscious individuals, in turn will be capable of better understanding and helping the Hispanic population, according to Moreno.

Moreno explained that other Spanish programs are available because of the efforts of UAHS-HCOE in facilitating the interaction amongst different colleges at UA.

UAHS-HCOE has partnered with Global MedCats to provide students with the opportunity to study abroad in Spanish speaking countries.

These programs not only immerse students in Spanish speaking communities within Costa Rica and Spain, but also include clinical shadowing hours—something Moreno realizes is highly sought after by pre-health students.

“I truly believe it’s a major asset for those who have an interest in the health professions,” Moreno said. “To be able to speak a language so commonly spoken by individuals that have limited English proficiency in our region.”

Malcolm Alan Compitello, professor and department head at the UA Spanish and Portuguese department, stated that these specialized Spanish classes are going to be similar to the existing beginning and intermediate 100 and 200 level Spanish courses, but with health science content integrated in to the curriculum.

These courses were specifically created in consultation with medical professionals to ensure accuracy and usefulness. They will also facilitate Spanish language competency with students.

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Christine Lamont, a public health and Spanish sophomore, has personally seen how important Spanish is within the health-profession field firsthand.

“I actually worked in a surgery center with my aunt when I was in high school and she told me about how patients would come in and only be able to speak Spanish, and it was hard to tell them what was going on,” Lamont said.

For health science students who are interested, these Spanish classes can count toward fulfilling the foreign language requirement here at UA, but are currently exclusively offered to students in health sciences.

Compitello explained that currently, the Spanish and Portuguese department with health sciences are still working out the logistics for next semester.

Follow Alex Gonzales on Twitter.

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