Bilingual Health Care Studies

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The Bilingual Health Care Studies Program is a multidisciplinary degree that prepares students as culturally competent bilingual patient navigators for employment in various health care settings. 

Students choosing this degree option will major in Health Education and minor in Foreign Language with an emphasis in a specific linguistic area. These linguistic focus areas represent the changing cultural demographics of the major Texas health markets. Students will take a minimum of 23 hours in Spanish, Arabic, French, or German, and must include six advanced hours in a special topics seminar. Students will receive academic coursework that will enable them to effectively communicate with clients of limited English proficiency who are seeking all levels of health care.

The patient navigator is more than a typical translator or interpreter who is trained to communicate verbally and in writing with persons of limited English proficiency. This specialization prepares students to be competent advocates who embrace the diverse cultural issues, religious practices, and specific mores that can create a barrier to patient accessibility and availability to health care.

Students earning this degree have the opportunity to participate in a 200 hour professional internship with participating health care organizations in Texas. Students also have the opportunity to select electives in the academic support areas of Health Law, Health Care Administration, the U.S. Health Care System, Business Management, Informatics, Sociology, Family and Consumer Science (nutrition), Counseling Education, Philosophy, Community Health, Medical Terminology, and Human Diseases.  The Bilingual Health Care Studies Program will serve as a catalyst to achieve components of the Closing the Gaps mandate sanctioned by the Texas Legislature.

Educational Objectives:

  • Provide current health care information to students in the content areas of Health Law, Health Care Administration, the U.S. Health Care System, Business Management, Informatics, Sociology, Family and Consumer Science (nutrition), Counseling Education, Philosophy, Community Health, Medical Terminology, and Human Diseases, grief, loss, and death counseling.
  • Prepare students with specific cultural, religious, social, and ethno-medical mores and practices that are unique to the Spanish, Arabic, French, or German cultures.
  • Train students in culturally appropriate behaviors, posturing skills, and verbal and non-verbal communication techniques that will enhance their interaction with patients representing the Spanish, Arabic, French, or German ethnic groups.
  • Prepare students as linguistically and medically correct interpreters and translators in the Spanish, Arabic, French, or German language areas.
  • Enhance retention and graduation rates of Bilingual Health Care Studies majors through the organization of minority cohort learning communities.
  • Provide professional growth opportunities for students through the specialized internship program, interviews and observations, and service learning activities facilitated in the major health facilities throughout Texas.
  • Recruit minority students for the Bilingual Health Care Studies major by utilizing established relationships with school districts representing the Spanish, Arabic, French, or German ethnic groups.

For more information on this program, contact Lisa Clarkson at LDC010@SHSU.EDU  or 936-294-2664.

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