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College of pharmacy and health sciences
College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Spanish Language and Culture Initiative

The Indiana State Department of Health has established a priority objective to “promote a culturally and linguistically competent system of health care” and to “reduce provider-based barriers that impact health care encounters and provider-patient communication.”

To better equip our graduates with the requisite linguistic and cultural competence skills necessary for providing quality care to the growing Hispanic/Latino community, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has developed a Spanish language and culture concentration as part of its Doctor of Pharmacy Curriculum

Requirements for Completion of the Medical Spanish Concentration

Only students enrolled in the professional pharmacy curriculum are eligible to participate in the Medical Spanish Concentration. Students may formally declare the COPHS Medical Spanish Concentration upon successful completion of RX482, Advanced Medical Spanish, and students must formally register for the track by adding the concentration as a minor. Successful completion of the COPHS Medical Spanish concentration requires the completion of a minimum of 12 credit hours of medical Spanish coursework taken as medical Spanish courses having the RX course designator, and the 12 credit hours must include RX692, an APPE rotation with a Spanish-language focus.

Medical Spanish Concentration Learning Goals and Strategies

The three principal learning goals for the medical Spanish courses are:

  1. To provide students the opportunity to learn health care vocabulary
  2. To advance their Spanish grammar skills
  3. To improve their Spanish communication skills with patients and health care providers.

The principal learning goals for the medical Spanish service-learning course are to increase medical fluency in Spanish and to facilitate interaction with and cultural awareness of the local Hispanic/Latino community.

Grammar skills are developed in the context of specific communication tasks. Examples of active learning and assessment strategies used in the courses include: student-to-student and student-to-faculty classroom conversation; intensive vocabulary exercises followed by quizzes; student oral presentations to the class; a personal interview role-play with the instructor or native Spanish-speaking patient; creation of patient information materials on various medications; and videos of various health-related situational themes such as cold/influenza symptoms, taking a medication history, and patient counseling on nutrition and diet. The final oral course project involves the student role-playing a pharmacist interacting with a Spanish-speaking patient on a variety of health-related topics.

The advanced medical Spanish course is a continuation of the introductory course and focuses on the development of Spanish communication skills around various health-related themes such as anatomy of the human body, emergency medicine, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, maternity, depression, drug abuse, and diagnostic procedures. In addition to the pedagogy and assessment strategies described for the introductory course, students in the advanced course are required to complete a research paper in Spanish on one of the course themes described above.

Emphasis on a Major or Minor in Spanish

Pharmacy students are strongly encouraged to complete both the Medical Spanish Concentration and a major or minor in Spanish. A major in Spanish requires the completion of a minimum of 33 credit hours in the language with at least 24 hours at the 300 level or higher. A minor requires the completion of a minimum of 21 credit hours with at least 12 of those hours at the 300 level or higher. The desirability for Spanish fluency among health care providers is emphasized to entering first-year students and continually reinforced by their academic advisors as they progress through the curriculum. For details regarding completion of a major or minor in Spanish and the Medical Spanish Concentration, students are encouraged to contact their pharmacy academic advisor.