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SOM Students

The Hispanic Center of Excellence (HCOE) has a longstanding commitment to provide minority, underrepresented, and disadvantaged medical students academic enrichment experiences prior to and during medical school. The HCOE is also committed to providing all medical students with additional Spanish-language training within the context of clinical exposure to bolster their cultural competency and to better prepare them to serve the people of Texas, the nation, or indeed, the world. Medical students are introduced to culturally-rich community-based service learning programs and research. The Hispanic Center of Excellence (HCOE) is housed in the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions.

Library Resource Center
The Hispanic Center of Excellence provides materials and online resources for Spanish language acquisition, medical Spanish, and Hispanic health. A free medical Spanish textbooks is available to any medical student who requests one.

Student Organizations
Frontera De Salud fronteradesalud@gmail.com

Students Serving Shriners studentsservingshriners@gmail.com

PM&R Student Interest Group - Tim Kundaje, MS2 twkundaj@utmb.edu

Latin Medical Student Association (LMSA) - Catherine Donat, MS2 cmdonat@utmb.edu

Que Quiere Decir (QQD) - John B. Burris, MS3 jbburris@utmb.edu


School of Medicine 4th Years

BLHU-4001 Online Clinical Conversational Spanish

This course is designed to provide you with the knowledge of the basic structures of the Spanish language, and the specialized medical vocabulary needed to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking patients in a variety of clinical scenarios. The online course is self-paced and has no formal face-to-face interactions except for the video activities. A tutor will be assigned for every student and daily meetings with Dr. Perez will occur. The learning is student-centered rather than instructor-teacher centered. You are responsible for your learning; Dr. Perez will be available as a professional resource and guide.

BLHU-4002 Immersive Clinical Spanish

The course is divided into two phases: half of the day in a clincial setting in Presidio, TX and the other half of the course is completed online. The course is designed to provide you with real life clinical experience in a predominantly Hispanic community clinic in the Texas-Mexico border area. The online portion of the course will provide you with the specialized medical vocabulary needed to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking patients in a variety of clincial scenarios. Dr. Pérez will be available as a professional resource and guide.

FAMU-4021 Ambulatory Community Elective

1) Student will spend significant clinical time dealing with primary care patients in respect of diagnosing and treating prevalent diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and hyperlipidemia. 2) Student will participate in a US/Mexico Border community-based health education and promotion program emphasizing pre-clinical management and prevention of primary care diseases. 3) Student will spend significant time immersed in a US/Mexico Border Hispanic community developing linguistic and cultural competency skills deployed in respect of healthcare.

FAMU-4022 Ambulatory Community Selective

Integrated Community Health Project: Frontera de Salud Community Health Ambulatory Community Selective. Overarching Goal: To enhance the student's understanding of border community prevalent primary care diseases, prenatal and postpartum care, and vector-borne diseases. 1. To acquaint the student with community-based health education and promotion programs and enhance familiarity and integrative community-based health care and treatment with ancillary services such as nurse educators, community health workers, educators, promotoras, social workers, and mental health counselors. 2. To expose the student to prevalent primary care diseases at a clinic setting and in a border community. 3. To acquaint and expose the student to linguistic appropriateness, public health, cultural competence to proficiency, in particular, with respect to Hispanic culture and border communities. 4. To introduce the student to health policy, in particular, with respect to binational health policy issues.

Faculty Director: Norma A. Pérez, M.D., Dr.P.H.
Location: Presidio, TX and the Big Bend Hospital District

The Big Bend Hospital District (includes Presidio) has scholarships for housing. In order to apply for a scholarship and arrange housing, this process should be started 2 months before your selective start date.

Students who would benefit from these courses:

  • Students interested in community-based health education and promotion
  • Students interested in primary care
  • Students interested in public health
  • Students interested in Hispanic healthcare
  • Students interested in acquiring cultural competence

The University of Texas Medical Branch has a proud tradition of excellence in teaching, scholarly research, curricular innovation and in meeting the healthcare needs of the State of Texas. As director of the Hispanic Center of Excellence, my primary objective is to provide faculty and students with future opportunities in career advancement, research, clinical practice, mentorship, counseling, and pre-medical academic enrichment programs to promising students. The HCOE's history in UTMB dates back to 1992, through federal funding by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.