Medical Spanish Class: Equipping DPT students to better serve our community

Written by: Neftali Del Rio; Class of ‘25 DPT student

1st year DPT students Karina Anaya and Neftali Del Rio after teaching their Wednesday Spanish class

Hola Todos! My name is Neftali Del Rio and I am originally from Pasadena, CA. Both of my parents were born in Mexico, so I consider myself a Chicano First generation student. I came upon physical therapy as an undergrad, and though I initially began my higher education adventure undeclared, in the back of my mind I always knew I wanted to reach the highest degree possible. The Doctorate of Physical Therapy program felt like a perfect fit for me: I love to workout and I appreciate the holistic approach to medicine, but I am most motivated by the opportunity to bridge the disparity gap and improve diversity in the field of physical therapy.

What inspired the development of these medical Spanish classes? 

The Spanish classes began prior to our enrollment at Regis. Nikolas Rodriguez (a 2023 graduate) and Aryn Cunningham (a current 2nd year) both helped to start the curriculum that we base our classes on. Karina and I continue the classes because we are inspired to help conquer language barriers. In past experiences, I have seen first-hand how learning a foreign language and attempting to speak to patients can help build trust.

What do you hope to achieve through these classes, and how do you see this skill helping the profession of PT?

 We hope to be able to teach other basic Spanish that will help students communicate with Spanish-speaking patients. We hope that our participants will be able to use the Spanish they learn in our class and apply it in clinic in order to break down those initial hesitancies that patients may have towards medical professionals.

What are your plans for the future of the class? 

Future plans for the class include increasing the number of participants, and we always want to take into consideration what our participants want to learn. This year we are did an unofficial international immersion, where a few of us that participate in the class went to Mexico for spring break. A goal for the future could be to hold an official international immersion. Lastly, my goal is to make sure the participants are having fun while they learn basic spanish. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s