The Catholic University of America

Spanish for Health Professionals Certificate

Language issues can be one of the most serious barriers to Hispanics seeking health care. This extends beyond finding a common means of communication. Health issues and their evidence-based management strategies can often be difficult to understand when the patient and provider do not speak the same language.  Equally important all ethnic groups share cultural constructs that need to be respected and addressed in medical settings, but most medical professionals lack the training to identify and address cultural sensitivities, becoming another barrier to delivering needed health care.

Acquiring these skills cannot only help improve the delivery of health care but can also help those in health professions pursuing career advancement. The program meets the needs of working medical professionals who do not require further degree certification and who will be able to adapt the program to their working schedules. It will provide strong interdisciplinary training for those that are already practicing clinical professionals or who may ultimately choose to enroll in undergraduate or graduate programs in health care, nursing or health care business administration. 

Cultural competence training and cultural awareness is of paramount importance for those working in any international or clinical setting.  Those working in clinical setting need to understand language barriers, how to work with translators, cultural differences, cultural understanding, and trust, among other cultural concerns.

By being culturally competent in health care, health care professionals can understand a patient’s diverse values, beliefs, and behaviors, and customize treatment to meet the patients' social, cultural, and linguistic needs.

This 4 course fully online certificate is designed for medical professions and those involved in health care that want to improve their knowledge of medical Spanish and become more culturally competent. Spanish for Health Professionals Certificate is designed for individuals with low to intermediate level of Spanish. Grading is pass/fail, based on assignments, oral participation, assessments and attendance.



Physician Assistants

Medical Assistants

Emergency Responders

Physical and occupational Therapist

Case Workers

Medical Technicians

Community Health Workers

Health care personnel


Individuals interested in health professions

Course hours: Four (4) courses at 50 hours per course for a total of 200 hours/certificate.

Course Duration: Online 5 week courses

Courses start: Summer Session- First Online (ON1) or Second Online (ON2) 2017 and will continue during the fall, spring and summer semesters

In this four-course sequence of Spanish and Cultural Competency for Health Professionals, learners are introduced to the basic principles of Spanish necessary for work in the field of medicine and health. Each course builds in depth specialization of medical terminology in Spanish to prepare the learner to communicate effectively with speaker of Spanish. Attention is placed on developing conversational and written skills needed to deal with medical situations through lectures, clinical role-playing, and dialogues. Strong emphasis is placed on cross-cultural awareness of Hispanic cultural attitudes as they relate to health care. Learners gain knowledge of cross-dialectal and cross-culture variations within Latin America and US Spanish.  Recommended for those with little or no background in Spanish. Classes are taught in Spanish and English. Courses are taught online asynchronously and taken in chronological order. 

Course Sequence

Spanish and Cultural Competency for Health Professionals I

Spanish and Cultural Competency for Health Professionals II

Spanish and Cultural Competency for Health Professionals III

Spanish and Cultural Competency for Health Professionals IV


See Also: