Medical Spanish Standardization in U.S. Medical Schools: Consensus Statement from a Multidisciplinary Expert Panel

Medical Spanish Summit

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34 Scopus citations


Medical Spanish (MS) education is in growing demand from U.S. medical students, providers, and health systems, but there are no standard recommendations for how to structure the curricula, evaluate programs, or assess provider performance or linguistic competence. This gap in medical education and assessment jeopardizes health care communication with Hispanic/Latino patients and poses significant quality and safety risks. The National Hispanic Health Foundation and University of Illinois College of Medicine convened a multidisciplinary expert panel in March 2018 to define national standards for the teaching and application of MS skills in patient- physician communication, establish curricular and competency guidelines for MS courses in medical schools, propose best practices for MS skill assessment and certification, and identify next steps needed for the implementation of the proposed national standards. Experts agreed on the following consensus recommendations: (1) create a Medical Spanish Taskforce to, among other things, define educational standards; (2) integrate MS educational initiatives with governmentfunded research and training efforts as a strategy to improve Hispanic/ Latino health; (3) standardize core MS learner competencies; (4) propose a consensus core curricular structure for MS courses in medical schools; (5) assess MS learner skills through standardized patient encounters and develop a national certification exam; and (6) develop standardized evaluation and data collection processes for MS programs. MS education and assessment should be standardized and evaluated with a robust interinstitutional medical education research strategy that includes collaboration with multidisciplinary stakeholders to ensure linguistically appropriate care for the growing Spanish-speaking U.S. population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages10
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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