Medical Mandarin

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Purpose: Limited English proficiency (LEP) is a well-documented barrier to achieving health equity in the United States. This project aims to assess the need for and interest in implementing a Medical Mandarin (MM) course at SKMC for addressing this barrier.

Methods: For this needs assessment, data was obtained from a search through existing research about disparities among LEP patients and from an online survey conducted among the SKMC student body. The main outcome of interest in the survey pertained to attitudes about patients with LEP and interest in a MM course. Secondary outcomes of interest included preferences, motivations, and concerns pertaining to a MM course. A total of 72 survey responses were collected and analyzed.

Results and Conclusions: In terms of the importance of LEP and overall interest in MM, the vast majority of respondents agreed that medical schools should educate students about disparities caused by LEP (94.4%, n=68) and that foreign language training was one method to address those disparities (84.7%, n=61). 51.3% (n=37) of respondents expressed interest in a MM course offered as a Humanities Selective.

The results indicate that students at SKMC recognize the need to learn more about treating patients with limited English proficiency and have ample interest in a Medical Mandarin course as one option for further learning. Given the demonstrated interest as well as preliminary preferences of such a course, next steps would involve identifying best practices to implement in creating the course from other foreign language training programs at medical schools.



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