Gift from Batten fund will make EVMS the region’s source for medical Spanish

Story Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 08:15:00 EDT

The Batten Educational Achievement Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation has made a gift of nearly $450,000 to establish a program at EVMS that will soon make the school the region’s source for certification in medical Spanish.

Officially known as the Spanish Bilingual Clinician Certificate & Longitudinal Service Learning Program, the program incorporates curriculum recognized by the National Institutes of Health.

Addressing language barriers is essential to reducing health disparities. It’s also vital to improving access to high-quality health care that is respectful of and responsive to the needs of diverse patients. So when EVMS’ leaders learned that the Hispanic population in Virginia had soared by 92 percent over 10 years, they realized it was time to take action.

Because of its service focus, the program will fall under EVMS’ M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health.

“This program will enable EVMS to work collaboratively with area health-care providers to improve the delivery of compassionate care to Hampton Roads’ Spanish-speaking community,” says Cynthia Romero, MD (MD ’93), Director of the Brock Institute. “It will also provide EVMS graduates with a new skill set to make them more competitive in matching for residencies and advancing their careers.”

EVMS medical students have been given the first opportunity to participate during the 2014-2015 academic year. Next year, the program will be offered to EVMS resident physicians and Master of Physician Assistant students.

Through the service-learning component, eventually EVMS students will perform rotations with Spanish-speaking physicians; visit areas that serve a highly concentrated population of people who speak Spanish; and take part in a clinical Spanish immersion rotation for a capstone project.

The Batten Educational Achievement Fund was founded in 2003 with a $20.5 million gift to the Hampton Roads Community Foundation from the late philanthropist Frank Batten and his wife, Jane, of Virginia Beach. Since then, the Batten fund has provided $21.8 million in grants from the community foundation to more than 25 organizations working to improve educational opportunities primarily in Hampton Roads.


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