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Health care workers can improve communication with Latino patients with new Vanderbilt course

May. 28, 2013, 2:34 PM

Family at the doctor
A Latino family gets medical treatment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Vanderbilt)

Health care workers in the Nashville community have the opportunity to improve their Spanish language skills with a new course at Vanderbilt University that can help them be more effective in treating the growing population of Spanish-speaking patients.

Spanish for Healthcare Professionals will be offered Wednesday evenings this fall, Sept. 4 through Nov. 6.

Eighteen students will be accepted into the class. The cost is $2,500. The deadline for registration is Aug. 15. The registration form is available online.

Lori Catanzaro (Vanderbilt)
Lori Catanzaro (Vanderbilt University)

“This course is appropriate for intermediate-level Spanish learners in the health professions who wish to increase their effectiveness in communicating with Spanish-speaking patients, clients and co-workers,” said Lori Catanzaro, senior lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese.

“Topics will include anatomy, common and chronic illnesses and health risks in the Latino patient population, protocol for obtaining a medical history, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up and patient cultural belief systems as related to illness and health.”

The course will include patient case studies, individual research presentations, quizzes, exams and role play/dramatizations to encourage active oral participation in a variety of activities during and in between class meetings. Although grammatical structure and verb tenses of the Spanish language will be reviewed and practiced within the context of health care, the course is not designed to teach grammar.

Prospective students should contact Lori Catanzaro ( or Martin Rapisarda (

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