There is an increasing number of Spanish-speaking patients in hospitals across the nation, so why aren't there more Spanish-English bilingual providers and researchers? In the Northern Nevada region (Washoe County), approximately 25% of residents are bilingual. Importantly, access to a bilingual translator in hospitals and clinics is very limited given the dearth in bilingual hospitalists, nurses, and specialized physicians. In addition, bilingual competency in the STEM fields and in the medical curriculum is low which underscores the need to increase the number of bilingual, practicing physicians in urban and rural communities. The Community of Bilingual English-Spanish Speakers Exploring Issues in Science and Health (CBESS) seeks to increase the number of bilingual English-Spanish students who pursue paths in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM)-healthcare fields such as biomedical, behavioral, and clinical careers.
The College of Education and Raggio Research Center, in collaboration with the School of Medicine and School of Community Health Sciences, will create opportunities to position bilingual K-12 high school students as insiders into STEM-healthcare fields. In other words, these students will be well-equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to participate in continuing their education in a clinical or research workforce, and thereby, become well-rounded individuals.