First Advisor

DeLys Ostlund

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Spanish






Hispanic Americans -- Medical care



Physical Description

1 online resource (143 p.)


The purpose of this investigation is to examine formal and informal resources available for teaching Spanish to health care professionals mainly in the Portland, Oregon area. Seventeen different Spanish-for-health-care-professionals texts are commented on by the author, some of which are the texts used in medical Spanish language classes. The majority of the texts contain little if any instruction on cultural aspects which affect the Latino patient population's health care behaviors and decision making. With the recent growth in the Latino population there is a greater demand for health care services by Spanish-speaking persons of the Latino community. The author discusses at length current information about the health status of this population, factors affecting access to health care, and language barrier. There is a lack of bicultural and bilingual health care professionals to provide needed health care services to Latinos. One factor is that the percentage of Latino medical and allied health providers is a small fraction of the percentage of Spanish-speaking patients in the U.S. Therefore, Spanish language instruction must be provided to medical personnel who do not have the cultural and language background to provide culturally relevant and efficient health care to Latinos. This language training must incorporate instruction on cultural issues that affect Latino patients' health care. At present very few Spanish-forhealth- care-providers texts and courses have this type of focus. Exemplary clinical programs specializing in the medical treatment of the Latino population, both inside and outside of the Portland Oregon area, are noted to highlight that effective and culturally relevant medical treatment is possible with adequate training of personnel. Outstanding courses integrating the instruction of both the Spanish language and culture are discussed. Often these courses are not offered as permanent parts of the curriculum. The author gives examples of some of the cultural issues that need to be addressed in language instruction, and makes suggestions for adapting this focus into Medical Spanish instruction.


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