Equity and Access to Care: So What Does a 1-Credit Spanish Class Matter for DPT Students and Patients?
Purpose: Students in a Midwestern university participated in a required 1-credit Spanish course as part of the DPT curriculum. Spanish is the largest non-English language spoken in the United States.1-6 The ability to speak Spanish may improve the therapeutic alliance with speakers of Spanish. It may also improve health status, access to care, and decrease disparity while building the basis for preventative care by building trust.6, 8-10 This study explored DPT student attitudes and beliefs toward learning Spanish as part of a DPT curriculum and experience in a pro bono clinic. It also explored perceptions of the students from community members in a pro bono clinic whose first language is Spanish.Methods/Description: Methods & Measures: DPT Students (n = 32) completed a 1-credit Spanish course as part of the curriculum. Students rated their abilities to speak, understand, read, and write before and after the course. Students also completed vocabulary exams pre- and post-course. Paired t-tests compared pre- and post-course skills in the area of vocabulary, speaking, reading, writing, and understanding Spanish. Alpha was set at .05. Students also reflected on their interactions with Spanish speakers in pro bono clinic. Community members who attended pro bono clinic rated the therapeutic alliance with students who attempted to speak Spanish and those who did not attempt to speak Spanish.Results/Outcomes: Results: Students’ perceived ability to speak, understand, read, and write Spanish increased after this coures.Vocabulary growth was also noted. Paired t-tests revealed that students’ vocabulary levels improved significantly from pre- to post-course assessment (t = -11.82, df 31, p < .001). Students’ ability to speak (t= -6.623, df 31, p < .001); understand (t = -4.068, df 31, p < .001); read (t = -4.473, df 31, p < .001); and write (t= -5.351, df 31, p < .001). Written reflections revealed three themes: 1) Increased respect for those who speak Spanish; 2) An increased openness to continue learning; and 3) Willingness to practice speaking Spanish with native speakers in the pro bono clinic. Community members reported feeling positive about their interactions with the students in pro bono clinic. Students who attempted to speak Spanish were rated as doing “a very good job” vs those who did not try, who were rated as “average.”Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Our Leadership Landscape: Perspectives from the Ground Level to 30,000 Feet: With the large number of Spanish speakers in the United States, it is important for healthcare providers to have a basic understanding of the Spanish language. A one-credit course will not allow DPT students to become fluent in speaking Spanish nor replace interpreters in the clinic. Students do develop an openness to learning more Spanish. Being able to greet patients and use some basic Spanish vocabulary words helped build a therapeutic alliance with native Spanish speakers in a pro bono clinic. Feedback from the Spanish-speaking community members attending the pro bono clinic were positive when describing the students’ attempts to use Spanish in the clinic.References: References: 1. Stepler R, Brown A. Statistical portrait of Hispanics in the United States: Current data. Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends. Published April 19, 2016. Available at: http://www.pewhispanic.org/2016/04/19/statistical-portrait-of-hispanics-in-the-united-states/. Accessed March 29, 2018. 2. Colby SL, Ortman JM. Projections of the size and composition of the U.S. population: 2014 to 2060. US Census Bureau. Published March 2015. Available at: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p25-1143.pdf. Accessed March 28, 2018. 3. Ryan C. Language use in the United States: 2011. US Census Bureau. Published August 2013. 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