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Historical view of medical Spanish instruction in a medical school at the US–Mexico border region
  1. Jorge Cervantes1,
  2. Mark L Francis1,
  3. Kirsten F Nigro2,
  4. Lucía Sánchez-Llorente2,
  5. Gilberto Garcia1,
  6. Daniel Rios1,
  7. Arely Munoz1,
  8. Jose Manuel Delarosa3
  1. 1Paul L Foster School of Medicine, Department of Medical Education, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Texas, USA
  2. 2Department of Languages and Linguistics, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA
  3. 3Office for Outreach and Community Engagement, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jose Manuel Delarosa, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Paul L Foster School of Medicine, El Paso, Texas 79905, USA; jmanuel.delarosa{at}


With a growing speaking Spanish population in the USA, it is necessary to help meet their healthcare needs. The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine is located in El Paso at the US–Mexico border. The medical Spanish curriculum is required for all medical students and begins on their first day of medical school, with conversational Spanish and medical Spanish through the preclerkship years. One of the key elements to the success of this course is the use of instructors with expertise in language instruction with an emphasis on task-based instruction. In addition to language instruction, this course also emphasizes instruction and experience in the culture of the US–Mexico border region. While taught medical Spanish, students are also prompted to understand when their skills are not adequate for the situation, in which case they need to enlist a skilled translator. Students report that, on a daily basis, they productively use what they learned in this preclerkship curriculum.

  • Education, Medical
  • Language

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  • Contributors JC, MLF, KFN, LS-L, GG, DR, AM, and JMD contributed to the conception of the work, drafting of the article and its intellectual content; and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.