Thomas Jefferson University

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Education Program & Multicultural Initiatives

Jefferson offers a number of interesting educational programs for students who are interested in expanding their view of the world and even traveling abroad.

Medical Spanish

The Jefferson Medical Language Immersion Program (JEFF MED-LIP) was designed to address the need of today's diverse patient population who often times are either limited or non-English proficient. The program enables our students to learn medical terminology, social-cultural norms and nuances, in addition to prevalent diseases and healthcare disparities within the Latino sub-groups. Students are encouraged to participate in hands-on experiences and to volunteer their time at nearby community clinics that predominantly serve a Latino patient base. Community outreach is done on a weekly basis by conducting educational health promotions workshops putting into practice the language skills and competencies acquired.

The Medical Spanish course is divided into three levels: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. It is offered for 1 hour, once a week, for 30 weeks. Students interested in taking the course are encouraged to attend our orientation session. Announcements are sent to all medical students in early September.

Medical Spanish was the first course to be offered. JEFF MED-LIP now includes Chinese. A summer "immersion" experience in a foreign country, where that specific language is spoken, is offered as part of the program. Students will be able to travel abroad for 8 weeks to experience first hand the healthcare delivery system within that country. Students interested in this program are encouraged to apply for a Foerderer Scholarship through the Office of International Affairs. There are a limited number of scholarships available.

In this world of technology, no course would be complete without the use of educational online services. Pulse, which is offered through Jefferson's Library Services, serves to enhance and broaden the teaching tools used for the Medical Spanish course. Information is provided to students enrolled in the course on this site with external links to journals and articles. It is also used as a means of communicating with students and posting assignments.

Global Health Initiative: Clinical Language "Immersion" Experience

The "immersion" experience of JEFF MED LIP came to fruition nearly eight years ago. This is part of our Global Health Initiative for TJU students but particularly for our Jefferson Medical College students. This component was designed to give the Intermediate and Advanced level Medical Spanish students a unique opportunity of visiting a Spanish speaking country. It would enable students to put into practice their acquired language skills and competencies. Students have the opportunity to experience healthcare delivery in a foreign country while shadowing Latino/a physicians and rotating through clinical facilities that might differ from those in the United States. It also allows students to learn more about prevalent illnesses and diseases that may affect that specific Latino subgroup. Students are able to learn more about the history, lifestyle and cultural norms of that specific Latino subgroup and how that may have an impact on their health.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic serves as a primary site for this program. It was chosen as a site for JEFF MED-LIP since it is a third world country where the provision of healthcare differs substantially from that of the United States. Students will have the opportunity to see first-hand diseases and illnesses that are only prevalent in tropical countries. In addition, the relatively low cost of travel, room and board were significant factors in selecting this country as well.

The main facilities include the Universidad Ibero-Americana School of Medicine's (UNIBE) main teaching hospital, Plaza de la Salud General Hospital and the Dominican Institute of Dermatology (community clinic).

UNIBE has also been very flexible in accepting our 4th year students and residents to do clinical clerkships there throughout the year. ODII will facilitate the process for any 4th year or resident interested in participating in JEFF MED LIP.

Guadalajara, Mexico

Four years ago, a new site was added. The Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine in Guadalajara, Mexico serves as a "host institution" for our immersion program. Our students have the opportunity to take additional Medical Spanish courses through UAG and do clinical shadowing and 4th year clinical rotations through their main teaching hospitals and community clinics.

Other Language Immersion Sites

In 2007-2008, the sites were expanded to include Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mendoza, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru and Cuzco, Peru. The programs are a collaborative agreement with ECELA (Escuelas y Centros de Espanol en Latinoamerica). a Spanish language center. ECELA is a member of the International Association of Language Centers in Argentina, Chile and Peru. Through this program, students have the opportunity to take the Medical Spanish courses offered through ECELA and then shadow a physician either in their own private practice, local hospital and/or community clinic. JEFF MED LIP will include other languages and countries in the near future.

Academic & Student Support

Jefferson Medical College encourages its students to utilize the numerous resources and faculty that are available to them. The Office of Undergraduate Medical Education and the Office of Student Affairs and Career Counseling provide major support services to all students. There are a wide variety of skilled personnel, faculty and resources to assist students throughout their four years. In addition, computer assisted and traditional tutorial programs are available for those who desire academic reinforcement. In addition, mentoring programs are provided in conjunction with the Office of Student Affairs.