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Spanish for Health Care and Human Services Professionals

The Certificate

The Spanish for Health Care and Human Services Certificate aims at developing students’ linguistic proficiency and cultural competency 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 (especially false cognates) to make them effective translators and interpreters. The projects for all their certificate courses will be focused on a comprehensive understanding of health care and human services, including topics as diverse as the analysis of preventive campaigns, historical representations of different diseases or debates on race and ethnicity.  The objectives of this multi-pronged approach are to endow students with the capacity to overcome linguistic barriers and gain an understanding of cultural competency that would allow for building patient-practitioner relationship.

Program Enrollment/Application:

Current RCNJ students in Good Academic Standing are automatically eligible for the Spanish for Health Care and Human Services Certificate, and should use the Major/Minor Declaration Form available through the Registrar’s Office to enroll in this program.

Non-Ramapo students are welcome to apply to this program as a Non-Degree Seeking Student through Ramapo’s Office of Admissions.



• Improve your professional communication skills with native Spanish speakers. Spanish speakers are one of the largest and fastest growing populations in the U.S.

• Be prepared to take the Bilingual Communicative Ability Test (BICAT) administered by the State of New Jersey Civil Service Commission.

Tuition and Fees or costs

Tuition and Fees

Normal undergraduate tuition and tuition related fees apply to all academic courses (Tuition Information) for undergraduate students. In addition, all relevant non-tuition related charges (e.g., parking fees, dishonored check fees, etc.) apply. Please, contact Office of Student Accounts for payment information.

Certificate Curriculum
Past Events

Diversity in Health Care and Human Services II: An Interdisciplinary Approach – Conference Schedule

Monday, October 21, 2019

9:15 a.m. – Registration

9:30 a.m. – Welcome by Cathy Davey, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director/Ex-Officio of the Ramapo College Foundation and Natalia Santamaria Laorden, Associate Professor of Spanish and Projector Investigator of the UISFL federal grant.

9:55 – 11:15 a.m. – First Panel: The Economic Advantage of a Diversity Approach in Health Care and Human Services

Chair: Susan Hangen, Dean of the School of Humanities and Global Studies
– Allison Banks-Moore, CDO at Horizon BCBSNJ.
– Oscar Holmes IV, Professor of Management, Rutgers University.
– Quincy Bloxom, Director of Operations, Anti- Poverty Network of NJ.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – “Race, Medicine, and Justice” by keynote speaker Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights. Professor of Africana Studies and Director of the Program on Race, Science and Society at University of Pennsylvania.

Presented by Amanda Roberti, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Ramapo College of New Jersey.

1 – 2 p.m. –  LUNCH

2:15 – 3:55 p.m. – Second Panel: Bilingual Narratives

Chair: John McTighe, Associate Professor of Social Work, Ramapo College of New Jersey.
– Edgar Rivera Colón, Lecturer and Medical Anthropologist, Columbia University.
– Carmen King Ramirez, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Arizona University.
– Daisy Rodríguez, Associate Director of Counselling, Health and Wellness, William Paterson University.

4 – 5:15 p.m.  – Reception and Presentation of the Peruvian Study Abroad Program

Peru: Community Health & Human Services Study Abroad Program

4 credits

Program Website



(Director of Roukema Center, Ben Levy and Spanish Professors Paula Straile-Costa and Natalia Santamaria Laorden.)

Conference Brochure (PDF)


Diversity in Health Care and Human Services: Sharing Teaching Practices on Addressing the Spanish Speaking Population – Conference Schedule

Friday, March 29, 2019

8:00 am – 8:30 am
(Pavilion Lobby) (Pavilion #3)
Breakfast (panelists & speakers only)
8:30 am – 9:40 am
(Pavilion 1)
Keynote Speaker: Mecca Sykes-Santana
Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement and Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), Westchester Center Health Network
9:40 am – 9:55 am
(Pavilion 1)
Surveys and Coffee Break
9:55 am – 11:35 am
(Pavilion 1)
Panel: Addressing Diversity in Health Care and Human Services
(Chaired by Professor John McTighe, Social Work, Ramapo College of New Jersey)Panelists:

Mark W. Meyer (M.D and UPMC professor)
Barbara Warren (PsyD and Director for LGBT Health Services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel)
Zuleima Alzate (Social Worker and Ramapo alumnus)
Debora E. La Torre (MSN, APN, FNP-BC, President Elect of NJ chapter, NAHN)

11:35 am – 11:50 am
(Pavilion 1)
Surveys and Coffee Break
11:50 am – 1:00pm
(Workshop A: Pavilion 1 & Workshop B: Pavilion 2)
Workshop A: How to address diversity in the teaching of health care and human services in the classroom
(for professors and administrators):

Rachel S. Edens, Assistant Dean of Pluralism and Leadership, Dartmouth College

Workshop B: Branding your Language Skills
(for students)

Nicole Videla, Cahill Career Development Center,Ramapo College of New Jersey

1:15 pm – 2:00 pm
(Pavilion 3)
Provided for panelists & speakers
2:00 pm – 3:10 pm
(Pavilion 1)
Keynote Speaker: Norma Cuellar, PhD, RN, RAAN
President of National Association of Hispanic Nurses
3:10 pm – 3:25 pm
(Pavilion 1)
Surveys and Coffee Break
3:25 pm -3:40 pm

(Pavilion 1)
Students’ Showcase
Students from “SPAN 311: Spanish for Health Care and Human Services” performing instances of bilingual miscommunication that had very negative consequences.
3:40 pm – 5:00 pm
(Pavilion 1)
Panel: Sharing Practices in Language Teaching on Health Care
(Chaired by Ben Levy, Director of International Education, Ramapo College of New Jersey)Panelists:

Priscila Freire, Program Director of MSW in Spanish, Loyola University
Natalia Santamaría Laorden, Associate Professor of Spanish & Coordinator of the Certificate for Health Care and Human Services, Ramapo College of New Jersey
Dana Pilla, Program Co-Director of the Internal Certificate in Spanish for the Health Professions, Rutgers University
Luis Marentes, Advisor of Spanish & Health Care Certificate,  University of Massachusetts

5:00 pm

(Pavilion 1)

Surveys and end of the conference

Conference Brochure (PDF)


For coursework content information and registration advising, contact:

Associate Professor of Spanish, Natalia Santamaria Laorden, at 201.684.7426 or

For additional application information, contact:

Office of Admissions
Ramapo College of New Jersey
Phone: (201) 684-7300
Fax: (201) 684-7964

For payment information, contact the Office of Student Accounts.