Global MedCats International Programs

Global Medcats International Programs at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

For detailed descriptions, eligibility information, application instructions, and more, please follow the links below.

The Global MedCats:  Spanish Language programs are based in Costa Rica, and are open to current University of Arizona students only.

For additional information, please contact the Hispanic Center of Excellence at 520-621-0235.

About the Program

Language Training

Individuals without access to care in the United States are at risk for adverse health outcomes. While access has traditionally been viewed and measured in terms of insurance status, there are more dimensions to be considered when addressing this determinant of health. In a more comprehensive analysis, limited English proficiency (LEP) arises as a barrier to access with detrimental downstream effects on health.In addition, even when LEP individuals do access health services, care provided is often truncated and incomplete, creating a relative barrier to care beyond the simple ability to see a provider.

Throughout the course of a clinical encounter, an LEP patient will communicate with various providers including medical assistants and nurses along with physicians, whose history-taking is essential to the final diagnosis in 56% to 82% of cases. When required to treat patients without the convenience of mutual English proficiency, physicians often choose to rely on their own language skills to communicate in the LEP patient's language.Unfortunately, this decision can lead to medical error and sacrificed quality of care when the language proficiency of the provider is inadequate.

The Global MedCats International Programs strive to train medical and other health professions students as bilingual providers, starting with foundational language skills in the Spanish Language in Healthcare - Valencia program.Language training becomes more specialized and applied in the Spanish Language in Healthcare - Costa Rica program and offers unique opportunities for practical experience in the clinical setting.The end result of comprehensive language training is broad proficiency and adaptability that equips healthcare professionals to provide language-concordant care to Spanish-speaking LEP patients in a safe and holistic manner.

Supporting International Activity at the College of Medicine

In addition to supporting our own international programs, Global MedCats strives to:

  • Provide resources and support for the international endeavors of other College of Medicine departments
  • Promote global cultural awareness
  • Foster collaborative relationships between the College of Medicine and international partners