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Global Health Education Spanish for Medical Professionals Elective

Spanish for Medical Professionals is an elective for first- and second-year Drexel medical students only.

Spanish for Medical Professionals is an elective designed for students with an intermediate-low level of Spanish. There is an extensive focus on medical vocabulary, linguistics and culture necessary to help students provide medical care to their Spanish-speaking patients more effectively. Students will review grammatical structures needed to interact with patients such as asking questions, giving commands and reporting in present and past tense.

Each class will be a combination of formal preparation focused on the structures and key vocabulary necessary for “hands-on” oral practice set around the realistic dialogues that model typical conversations in doctor-patient relations. There will be a strong focus on developing oral and listening skills, since these conversations require both to be equally strong. Reading will also be part of the class to improve students' pronunciation and strengthen the recognition and memorization of the vocabulary within the covered topic. In regards to writing, the stress will be only on dictation, which is the ability to take notes while the Spanish-speaking patient talks.


Please sign-up before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, September 4, 2020, on the bulletin board between Queen Lane Rooms 226 and 228. That will give you time to decide after the first set of exams.

Spanish Intermediate-Low Level

You should consider your level of Spanish as intermediate-low if you attended three quarters of Spanish at Drexel University, two semesters of Spanish at another university during your undergraduate studies, or after two years of high school Spanish classes. This is what students at an intermediate-low level are able to do:


At the intermediate-low sublevel, listeners are able to understand some information from sentence-length speech, one word at a time, in basic personal and social contexts, though comprehension is often uneven.


At the intermediate-low sublevel, readers are able to understand some information from the simplest connected texts dealing with a limited number of personal and social needs, although there may be frequent misunderstandings. Readers at this level will be challenged to derive meaning from connected texts of any length.


Speakers at the intermediate-low sublevel are able to successfully handle a limited number of uncomplicated communicative tasks by using the language in straightforward social situations. Conversation is restricted to some of the concrete exchanges and predictable topics necessary for survival in the target language culture. These topics relate to basic personal information, for example, self and family, some daily activities and personal preferences, and some immediate needs, such as ordering food and making simple purchases. At the intermediate-low sublevel, speakers are primarily reactive and struggle to answer direct questions or requests for information. They are also able to ask a few appropriate questions. Although they are not fluent in all areas, they are familiar with grammatical topics such as present tense and past tense, interrogative words, numbers, the verb gustar, the difference in use between ser and estar, and making commands.


During this course the focus will be exclusively on transcribing from the dictation. Writers at the intermediate-low sublevel are able to meet some limited practical writing needs. They can create statements and formulate questions based on familiar material. Most sentences are rearrangements of learned vocabulary and structures. These are short and simple conversational-style sentences with basic word order. They are written almost exclusively in present time. Writing tends to consist of a few simple sentences, often with repetitive structure. Topics are tied to highly predictable content areas and personal information. Vocabulary is adequate to express elementary needs. There may be basic errors in grammar, word choice, punctuation, spelling, and in the formation and use of non-alphabetic symbols. Their writing is understood by natives used to the writing of non-natives, although additional effort may be required. When intermediate-low writers attempt to perform writing tasks at the advanced level, their writing will deteriorate significantly and their message may not come across.

Course Goals and Objectives

  • To acquire the Spanish vocabulary that relates specifically to the medical field
  • To review grammatical structures to properly interact with Spanish-speaking patients in order to provide the help they may need
  • To improve the pronunciation and listening comprehension to prevent misunderstandings due to lack of accuracy
  • To gain an understanding of the Hispanic cultural background
  • To become more sympathetic to the individuals that lack proficiency in English and to identify how this may affect the level of care they receive

2020-21 Global Health: Medical Spanish Elective

Download Syllabus [PDF]

Medical Spanish Elective Schedule

This year, there will continue to be two evening classes of Medical Spanish. The schedule is below. Scheduling elective classes near exams was unavoidable in certain situations. Please be mindful of this, and plan to study for exams in advance.

Medical Spanish A Elective
Open to MS1 and MS2
Tuesdays 6-8 p.m.
*with 2 exceptions as noted

  • *9/9 (5-7 p.m.) Because of the yr1 mandatory advisory mtg on Tues 9/8, change from Tues 9/8 to Wed 9/9
  • 9/29
  • 10/6
  • 10/13
  • 10/27
  • 11/3
  • *11/11 (5-7 p.m.) Because of the yr1 mandatory advisory mtg on Tues 11/10, change from Tues 11/10 to Wed 11/11
  • 12/1
  • 12/8
  • 1/12
  • 1/19
  • 1/26
  • 2/9
  • 2/16
  • 3/9

Medical Spanish B Elective
Open to MS1
Wednesday 7-9 p.m.

  • 9/9
  • 9/30
  • 10/7
  • 10/28
  • 11/4
  • 11/11
  • 12/2
  • 12/9
  • 1/13
  • 1/20
  • 1/27
  • 2/10
  • 2/17
  • 2/24
  • 3/10

Application and Fees

  • Entry will be by lottery if we have more applicants than space allows.
  • We ask that you are at an intermediate-low Spanish level to sign up. If yes, please complete the sign-in sheet on the bulletin board (2nd floor Queen Lane, between Rooms 226 and 228) and indicate your past Spanish education and level.
  • If there is more interest than available space, all enrollees will be entered into a lottery for the two classes.
  • You will be notified within a week after the deadline if you are approved to register. At the time of registration, payment must be completed.


There is a $100 fee for the course due on registration. There will be absolutely no full or partial refunds for any reason once you have registered.

Furthering Your Spanish

If you are seeking Spanish-speaking community programs for your Health Advocacy Longitudinal Practicum (HALP), please consider selecting sites at St. Christopher’s Hospital and Puentas de Salud.

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