I spent this past summer developing an extracurricular course for Spanish-speaking students interested in practicing and improving their medical Spanish. The Advanced Medical Spanish Discussion Course is finally up and running! As I reflect on the process of creating the class (together with fellow M2 and email-acrobat Brooke Weisenberger), I am full of pride and gratitude. Here’s a big thank you to all those who made this class possible.
Two evenings a month, advanced, fluent, and native Spanish speakers meet for an hour and a half to practice Spanish communication and clinical reasoning. Each Advanced Med Spanish class is led by a different faculty member, who acts as patient and teacher. Students interview the “patient” then get feedback from the teacher. This way, we expose students to a variety of medical cases and connect Spanish-speaking students and faculty.
When we started reaching out to faculty back in June to see who’d be interested in facilitating the course, we were met with support and enthusiasm. People were happy to volunteer their time to come facilitate a class. As a result, we get to spend our evenings talking to GI experts about GI disease, nephrologists about (not just one, but both!) kidneys, and Emergency Medicine doctors about… well, pretty much anything.
We created this class as part of the Latin American Native American Medical Association (LANAMA) initiatives. I’m on the leadership board for LANAMA, and putting this class together was my passion project. But, as the saying goes, “Nothing good is done alone. Don’t do it alone, get some help. There are people nearby.” Is that how it goes? I’ve never been good at sayings. Thankfully our LANAMA family is very forgiving of verbal gaffes and, as it turns out, instrumental when you’re figuring out how to make a med Spanish class. They are also very generous with their donut budget. ¡Gracias a todos! [Side note on lessons learned in the planning of this course: the nearest Krispy Kreme is a 40-minute drive from Ann Arbor.]
Paths of Excellence
Brooke and I got to work early this spring for a what we envisioned as a informal fall class. Pretty soon into the thinking process we realized – we weren’t really sure where to start.
Fortunately, we’re both in the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching (SoLT) Path of Excellence, an elective dedicated to mentoring students who are passionate about medical education. I started by meeting with my SoLT faculty advisors and talking through my vision for the class. They connected me with other faculty and resources, and we were off!
This class is not for credit. It’s simply a collection of medical students who want to improve their medical Spanish and clinical reasoning skills. So we were blown away when 37 students, M1s through M4s, signed up. As the co-director, I’m happy to discover that there’s so much interest in the class. As a Latina medical student who believes it’s incredibly important that we have doctors who can speak their patients’ languages, I’m moved.
Now we’re one class in with six more to go! I’m excited to see how the rest of the semester unfolds. Hasta pronto.
Peris is a 2nd year medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School. She is a non-traditional student and spent 5 years working in Education before starting at Michigan. When she’s not working out at IMSB, playing Catan, exploring Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, watching horror films, or cooking Thai food, you can find her studying.