A certificate in Spanish for health care professionals is being introduced by Concordia University Wisconsin so students can enhance their degree in one of the world's fastest growing foreign languages.

This 15-credit certificate set to begin in the fall is being tailored so that graduates will be linguistically and culturally prepared to interact with Hispanic patients in their career. Some studies predict that by the year 2060 the United States will be the second largest Spanish speaking community, surpassed only by Mexico. Spanish is presently spoken in nearly 8% of the world, according to the Spanish government’s Cervantes Institute, and continues to be the most studied language at all schools and universities in the United States.

Brian Gunderson, department chair of modern languages at Concordia, oversees the certificate program. Five, 3-credit classes are being offered in:

  • Spanish Composition and Conversation
  • Hispanics in the United States
  • Health Issues in the Hispanic World
  • Costa Rica: Cultural Immersion and Collaboration
  • Spanish for Human Service Professionals

“We have many that are showing interest in the program and we’ll be offering a majority of the classes from 6-9 p.m. to accommodate their clinical and course schedules,” said Gunderson, an assistant professor. “We’re also going to open this program up to all students, regardless of their major,” he added.

This certificate has been added to the curriculum in part because the health care industry is beginning to require many positions to be bilingual or bi-cultural. A knowledge of Spanish will set CUW graduates apart from others when they interview, as prospective employers realize they are gaining someone both linguistically and culturally competent.

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