The Medical Spanish for Heritage Learners program (initiated in 2007 with assistance from a FIPSE grant) is an academic minor consisting of four intermediate and advanced level Spanish classes that develop advanced medical terminology in Spanish, medical interpreting and translation skills, and basic understanding of the public health disciplines. The program has a unique curriculum that is fully articulated with South Texas College and has created community-based learning opportunities for students in community health centers throughout the Rio Grande Valley.
The mission of the Medical Spanish for Heritage Learners program is to affirm the cultural knowledge and Spanish language proficiency of Latino undergraduate students in the health sciences and to build on these competencies in order to ensure a critical mass of bilingual and bicultural leaders for tomorrow’s health care workforce. To accomplish this, the program has established the nation’s first academic minor in Medical Spanish that combines a rigorous program of advanced language and cultural study with multiple service opportunities in the local community and at the national level.
From the initial course offer in 2008, 442 students have completed the program. In In the 2016-2017 academic year, 581 students enrolled in the program. The courses have been articulated with high-performing high school juniors and seniors (Valley View High school and South Texas Academy for Medical Professions) through the dual enrollment program. Out of the 442 students who have completed the minor in Medical Spanish, 123 students are from high schools who obtained the minor while still in high school.