The mission of Spanish-Medical.com is to help increase the cultural and
linguistic competency of the medical community.
To attempt to fulfill our mission, we have collaborated with several Spanish
language schools throughout Latin America, and provide an intensive
Spanish immersion program with a medical component.
Spanish-Medical.com was unofficially born around February 2003, when Steve Foster was
employed with a large community health center in northern Colorado. At the time, the clinic had
approximately 8,000 active patients, of which around 30% (3400) were Spanish Speaking Only
(SSO) patients. Of the seven physicians, only one was fully bilingual. Even though non-Spanish
speaking physicians used bilingual Medical Assistants and Clerical workers as interpreters,
they were usually not trained in medical interpreting. Even when they were trained in medical
interpreting, much of the communication was still lost.
Since this first trip in November 2003, Spanish-medical.com has sent dozens of pre-meds,
medical students, nursing students, and other medical professionals on Spanish/Medical
immersion programs in Argentina and Chile, and has built impressive relationships with
some key members of the medical community in both Santiago and Buenos Aires.
In March, 2005, Foster met a representative from the Cuernavaca Language School (CLS) in
Cuernavaca, Mexico. The CLS has also been offering a similar medical-specific program to
pre-meds, medical students and practicing medical professionals, and the two institutions have
now joined together to promote this important cause.
In early 2006, we also collaborated with a school in Guatemala that offers private Spanish
lessons, homestay opportunities with experienced families, and medical shadowing. Our
Guatemala program is located is in the colonial town of Antigua, surrounded by three
volcanoes in a unique and picturesque setting. In August 2006 our first Guatemala medical
participant completed his program successfully, and it has quickly grown to develop into one of
our most popular programs!
In 2012, we were able to inaugurate our Lima, Peru program, and as of April 2014, began
offering a program in Cusco, Peru as well! We are excited to offer the same quality of program
for students in one of South America's most culturally and historically rich countries!
|© 2015 Specialized Immersion Programs LLC – All Rights Reserved
It was a travesty for Foster to see all of the
doctors, whose medical expertise and
treatment ability he had such great
confidence in, and the SSO patient
population, which was such a vital part of
the patient base (and the community as a
whole), yet communication deficiencies were
preventing quality healthcare to take place.
So, in November, 2003, Foster began
communicating with a Spanish language
school in South America. He presented the
idea of trying to generate interest among
medical students in between their first and
second year, and bringing a small group to
Chile each year for a Spanish immersion
program with a medical component. The
first group arrived in Chile in May 2004,
and participated in a five week immersion
|A key purpose of the medical shadowing
sessions is communication and interaction
with host physicians.