Combining Passions Creates New Elective

Incorporating her past experience as a doctor in Mexico with the high school classroom, Spanish teacher Alicia Gomez has created a new, semester long class.


Clare Kimmis

Juniors Sarah Totta and Bridget Roudebush practice taking each other's pulse and blood pressure while conversing in Spanish.

Kelly Nugent, Video Content Editor

Medical Spanish, a new class introduced this semester, is geared towards the students seeking any career opportunity in the medical field for college and beyond.

Although the class is no exclusively for future medical students, the material and lessons taught are designed for students that are, according to Spanish teacher Alicia Gomez.

Spanish teacher Leah LaFaver saw a need for interpreters last summer and brought it to Gomez’s attention. Gomez thought this course could assist with this skill. The course will offer lessons in interviewing skills, as well as culture in dominant Spanish-speaking countries and Hispanic or Latino-dominant cities, Gomez said.

“We focus more on interviewing a patient and their beliefs to make them feel more comfortable to gain that [doctor and patient] trust,” Gomez said.

Labeled as an elective course, Medical Spanish is offered to anyone who has at least two years of previous Spanish experience.

Everything that is learned through culture and body language in the class is different than your average Spanish class, according to junior Maria Rojas.

“We learn important vocabulary and how to treat a whole range of people,” Rojas said. “Some patients don’t have a lot of education, so you have to find a way to simplify complicated medical terms.”

During the class, students spend the majority of their time up and out of their seats to physically interact with one another and take on the roles of doctors and patients. Medical Spanish allows students to be cognizant of daily lives in a different culture, according to sophomore Savanna Mayer.

“I really want to be a doctor and I heard a lot about how [by] immersing yourself culturally, you learn a lot,” Mayer said.

Gomez and her students are thinking big for a final project. Towards the end of the semester, students hope to be able to go to a local dominant Spanish-speaking area and set up a clinic that would allow medical Spanish students to assist doctors in treating patients in the Kansas City Metro area. Medical Spanish incorporates education into important life lessons such as human interaction and volunteerism, Gomez said.