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Spanish for Health Care and Human Services Professionals

Program Overview

The Certificate in Spanish for Health Care and Human Services Professionals aims at developing students’ linguistic proficiency and cultural humility in Spanish so that they can operate professionally in a medical and human services setting with native speakers of the language.  The courses in the certificate are designed to familiarize students with the intricacies of the language to make them effective translators and interpreters but also and rely on the Spanish major courses, focused on the culture and history of Latin America and Latinx people, to provide students with a solid background in which to contextualize their exchanges and connection with Spanish speaking clients and patients. The objectives of this multi-pronged approach are to endow students with the capacity to overcome linguistic barriers and, eventually, gain an understanding of cultural competency that would allow for building patient-practitioner relationships. The internships with the local community in the areas of healthcare and human services, as well as the study abroad component of the certificate serve to expand the students’ education as they are in direct contact with Spanish speaking patients and clients. As part of these internship and study abroad experiences, students reflect on the impact of socioeconomic circumstances as well as debates on race and ethnicity.

Learning Outcomes

  • Become familiar with the vocabulary applicable to medical or human services settings.
  • Develop the communication skills necessary to compile a medical history or conduct a human services assessment.
  • Demonstrate oral proficiency level of at least Intermediate-high as described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines
  • Nurture an understanding of intersectionality or how gender orientation, social status, religion, age, etc. combine with issues derived from nationality, culture, and language to establish systems of discrimination and privilege.
  • Become familiar with the ethical codes of medical interpreters, specifically with the principles of invisibility and transparency.
  • Understand the psycholinguistic relationship of emotional expressiveness formed with the first language and the emotional detachment that comes with the use of another language for “coordinate” bilinguals (those who have acquired the languages that they know in different contexts). 
  • Cultivate cultural humility towards an understanding of cultural competence.
Requirements of the Certificate