NSights Blog

Creating a Community of Bilingual English-Spanish Speakers who explore issues in science and health

CBESS looks to increase diversity of STEM and medical professionals in our community; here's how to get involved

¡Hola todos! I'd like to introduce you to the Community of Bilingual English-Spanish Speakers, or CBESS. This amazing new program will encourage bilingual students to consider career paths in STEM and health care. As northern Nevada continues to diversify, our health care systems struggle to employ medical professionals who represent the diversity in our community. Bilingualism is an incredible asset. Not only can it open doors to different cultural worlds, the beauty of travel, and an appreciation of diverse perspectives, but it can also be incredibly valuable professionally. We want participants of the CBESS program to know how much bilingualism is valued, specifically in STEM and health care contexts and provide them with an opportunity to grow their language and STEM skills.

With a growing Spanish-speaking population, the role of bilingual health care professionals is more critical than ever. Improved health outcomes, quality of patient interactions, trust building, participation in biomedical research, and reducing implicit bias are just a few ways in which Spanish-speaking practitioners positively influence patients. What's more, jobs in STEM occupy the top ten fastest growing careers in the United States, and medical professionals fill five of those ten spots. Spanish-speaking students can help fill a gap in the massive shortage of medical workers while entering careers where they can grow and flourish.

To increase the diversity of STEM and medical professionals in our community, CBESS is recruiting three kinds of participants to join the program - Student Researchers, Leadership Trainees and Community of Practice Participants.

Student Researchers - Northern Nevada bilingual high school juniors can take advantage of this incredible free opportunity that will last from junior through senior year. Student Researcher (SRs) get to hang out with medical professionals during career exploration events, and spend three weeks on campus over the summer getting a taste of university life by taking classes with University of Nevada, Reno professors. SRs will connect with the campus community, and position themselves to be successful in postsecondary pursuits by living in the residence halls and learning about the fantastic resources UNR has for first generation students. During senior year, SRs will apply for internships at hospitals, clinics and research laboratories. They'll also match with a bilingual undergraduate who will mentor them during senior year. At this critical juncture, our high school participants will have the support and guidance of a Spanish-speaking, first generation undergraduate interested in STEM fields.

Leadership Trainees - CBESS invites bilingual undergraduates to receive free professional development in a variety of areas including inquiry-based STEM instruction, best practices in mentoring, positioning students, and the responsible conduct of research. The Leadership Trainees (LTs) will have the opportunity to apply their skills with our high school participants. They will teach courses over the summer program, stay with the SRs in the dormitories during the summer program, and engage the high school participants in mentoring sessions. These participants will receive compensation for their participation. LTs have first-hand experience being first generation and low-income students; they are essential role models who will help SRs navigate the transition between high school and postsecondary life.

Community of Practice - The CBESS Community of Practice (CoP) brings together medical and health care professionals with Spanish speaking and bilingual individuals, creating a space that facilitates mutual understanding and shared knowledge. CoP participants are role models for both LTs and SRs and will serve as guest speakers and instructors during the Summer Residential Research Program. If you want to help motivate the next generation of bilingual medical professionals by sharing your expertise, contact CBESS today!

If you or someone you know is interested in joining CBESS, as a Student Researcher, Leadership Trainee, or a Community of Practice participant, please visit www.unr.edu/cbess. The application deadline for Leadership Trainees and Student Researchers is Nov. 16.

CBESS is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25OD023795-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFnMyV_nro8&feature=youtu.be

Jenica Finnegan